Housing construction on rebound in 2013

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<p>Mark Waite / Pahrump Valley Times - The frames of new houses are going up in the Mountain Falls subdivision.</p>

Building activity was up considerably in the Pahrump area in 2013, compared to recent years, with one developer seeing signs of a new, re-emerging housing industry returning to pre-recession levels.

The Pahrump Building and Safety Department issued 617 building permits in 2013, that’s up 114 percent from the 288 permits issued in 2012. The department issued 52 permits for constructing single-family homes, compared to 22 in 2012.

Construction activity was valued at $19.07 million in 2013, compared to $12.5 million in 2012. Charles Abbott and Associates took in $151,077 in building permit fees in 2013, up from $132,789 in 2012.

In 2011 Pahrump Building and Safety issued only 250 building permits with 25 single-family homes under construction, in 2010 there were 255 building permits issued, including 23 single-family homes.

There were 68 building permits issued for mobile homes in 2013, including 26 issued during December and 17 in October.

Pahrump Building Inspector Bill Browning said in 2013 building activity “started to pick up, just a little bit in all areas, a gradual pick up with the interest in getting the applications in to waive the impact fees in the first six months. It looks like interest is peaking; it’s going to continue to grow.”

After a two-year moratorium, Nye County Commissioners agreed to resume collecting impact fees. A sign on the counter at the Pahrump Building and Safety Department notes the fees which total $1,995.66 for a single-family home including $1,332.66 for street improvements, $359 for parks, $167 for fire protection and $137 for the sheriff’s office. In addition, the school district levies a $1,600 residential construction tax, for $3,959.66 in total fees that could be avoided if applications were submitted and stamped received by building and safety before 4 p.m. last Monday, requirements for obtaining a building permit must be met and a building permit issued by June 30.

Browning couldn’t divulge the names of the last-minute applicants for building permits to beat the Jan. 1 deadline. But he said conditions are improving for builders.

“I think one of the things that has been good for it is the appraisals are now being appraised at a point where the builder can afford to make a little money. The way the stuff was appraised before the builder couldn’t make money and build. he could build, but a cost. He couldn’t make a profit at what the banks are lending,” Browning said. “That’s improved, they’re financing a little more and it’s become a little easier. Most of the homes that are being built right now are sold.”

He added a lot of people are deciding to build on their properties, accessories like garages and carports.

William Lyon Homes continued to build homes in the Mountain Falls subdivision, taking out building permits for 29 of the 52 single-family homes in 2013, of which 18 homes went up on Monte Penne Way, on the west end of Mountain Falls Parkway. Another five homes went up on Volterra Street, which are nearing completion, five homes were built on South Luciano Street.

“I would say we are encouraged by what’s happening in Southern Nevada. We’re expanding our offering in Mountain Falls,” said Terry Connelly, vice-president of operations for William Lyon Homes. “We believe that the viability that was anticipated before the recession, we’re seeing kind of green shoots of that happening.”

“The fundamentals are there that was driving the market before the recession and people are still looking for value and location. More people are looking at location and floor plans and product versus value,” he said.

When asked if the sales prices were lowered to sell homes, Connelly said, “we’re seeing an overall increase in sales revenue.”

Better yet, Browning said the homes being built in Mountain Falls are all sold, not speculative homes.

Verco pulled building permits for single-family homes at 6751, 6761, 6771 and 6781 Stubblefield St. in November and December, they also began building a home at 1920 Cavalry St. in August. Shadow Mountain Construction began a commercial construction project at 781 Lola Lane in October and for the Wine Ridge RV Resort next to the Pahrump Valley Winery the month before.

Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch saw more development in 2013. Double M Construction Co. took out building permits in June and August, for building the new Cadillac V Series Training Academy building and other improvements, co-owner Russ Meads also took out a permit to build the new Pinnacle Propane facilities at 1780 E. Basin Ave. in May. Bryant Peterson took out a building permit that month for the construction of the new Pizza Hut at 920 Pahrump Valley Blvd. Serenity Homes built a couple of tenant improvements for commercial properties at 1541 E. Highway 372, site of a new payday loan company.

GDS Enterprises had single-family manufactured homes built on Hilton head and Dandelion streets.

AVCO Construction took out two building permits for single-family homes in 2013, at 1551 Deerskin St. and 3150 Jollie Way in April. But AVCO Senior Sales Representative Curtis Ahrens thought their construction activity in 2013 was still a long way off from the pre-recession years.

“We only built a couple houses in 2013. That’s not very much when we used to be building two a week in ‘04-‘05-‘06. The big problem is banks are not giving any money out, unless it’s a person that doesn’t need the money. it’s because all the houses that are existing on the market are priced so low it doesn’t allow them to justify financing new construction because new construction has dropped down in price, like foreclosures,” Ahrens said.

Building figures indicate there’s still a long way to go before construction reaches the heady days before the 2008 recession. In 2006 Pahrump Building and Safety issued 1,817 building permits, including permits for 717 single-family homes. In 2007, the office issued 1,167 building permits, including 416 homes. Valuation of new construction totaled $101 million in 2006 and $79.5 million in 2007.

But looking ahead to 2014, Browning said there’s been a lot of pre-development meetings of groups interested in building commercial projects.