Timberline Builders could break ground on 23 new attainably priced townhouses as soon as next summer in Three Springs. But as prices rise, it’s unclear what attainable pricing may look like a year from now.
The homes on Pioneer Avenue east of Mercy Regional Medical Center are expected to be two-story homes between 1,000- and 1,200-square feet, said Emil Wanatka, president of Timberline Builders.
The price range of the homes is unknown because building costs continue to escalate, but the goal is to make them the least expensive homes in Three Springs, Wanatka said.
One of the driving forces behind increasing housing costs is the cost of lumber, which has been pushed up by wildfires in British Columbia, hurricanes and a trade dispute with Canada, he said.
A labor shortage in the building industry, and fees and regulations, such as the new 2017 electrical code required by the state, are also increasing the cost of new construction, he said.
The city and county could also adopt fire impact fees on new construction to help fund the Durango Fire Protection District, and it could be another contributor to high costs.
“I just think we’re going to see additional escalation in prices,” Wanatka said.
The median price for a townhome or condo in Durango through the third quarter of this year was $316,646, up from $299,900 during the same period last year, according to a Durango Area Association of Realtors report.
For La Plata County, the median price of a home is up from $350,000 to $365,000, according to DAAR.
In the last six months, price increases have been particularly pronounced, he said.
“I have never seen prices increase at the rate they have,” Wanatka said.
An increase in interest rates could be one of the factors to slow demand, he said.
The Durango City Council approved the subdivision that included lots for the Timberline townhomes, commercial or mixed-use buildings, and a park in mid-October.
The project is unlikely to return to the city for approval because it is subject to codes and standards specific to Three Springs, he said.
The townhouses will likely sit in the center of the block and face a similar development across the street, city plans show.
Commercial or mixed-use buildings would be built on either end of the block, and the pocket-park would face the hospital.