Business feature: Residential revival

James Truelove, 27, a worker with Insulating Enterprise of Portales, sprays foam insulation Monday inside a house being built at 3913 Springwood in Clovis. (Staff photo: Ryan Lengerich)

By David irvin: CNJ staff writer

The number of new housing permits in Clovis has more than tripled since 2001, a trend likely due to enhanced economic development in the area.

City officials say Clovis usually averages between 40 and 60 new houses built per year. This year, Clovis has already sapproved 202 new residence permits through Monday.

The number of new residential permits has been growing strongly in the past few years, up from 63 in 2001, to 92 in 2002 and 112 in 2003, a report from the Clovis Department of Building Safety shows.

By far this year has seen the largest growth in residential building, both in percentage and in absolute numbers.

John Bourne, president of John Bourne Custom Homes, said this year has been especially busy for him. He expects to have about 15 projects complete by the end of the year. In a regular year he would only build or remodel about a dozen houses, he said.

The average sales price of his homes have gone up about 15 percent over the past few years, and they continue to sell at those prices, he said.

“I think the situation is people feel optimistic about buying and building in Clovis,” he said.

He is mostly building in the northeast section of town, the area of the city experiencing much of the residential home growth.

Some of this growth is a result of new industry coming into Clovis, Assistant City Manager Joe Thomas said.

“New businesses generate new people coming into town,” Thomas said. “A lot of these bigger companies are looking at Clovis more than they would have in the past.”

He said a number of factors may be contributing to this growth in the new home market, such as the Southwest Cheese plant and the expansion of the railroad. He said all of the local contractors are working on new building projects, and a number of larger contractors are coming in from out of town and prospecting land in the area.

Numbers provided by the Clovis Department of Building Safety show the combined value of the new houses being built this year is $32.4 million. City officials said that number represents building costs, labor and materials.

Residential building activity nationwide has been hot in recent years, largely because of the lowest mortgage rates in four decades.

At mid-year, the national numbers for residential building were steady and strong. However, the November numbers released by the Commerce Department show the first decline in this category since February 2003.

Local developers and home builders said they have not detected the market slow down at all.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Building boom

Number of residential building permits and value by year.
Permits Value

2001 63 $7.2 million
2002 92 $11.6 million
2003 112 $17.9 million
2004 to date 202 $32.4 million

Source: Clovis Department of Building Safety