On Special Assignment

May 2, 2013 1:20 PM by Dax Van Fossen - KAJ News

Flathead real estate, construction industries see growth

KALISPELL - It appears the Flathead Valley may be perched for growth in the real estate and construction industries following a five-year long recession. Reporter Dax VanFossen went on Special Assignment to find out how the recovery is going.

Construction and real estate have been very hard sells over the last five years, but after talking with folks with the City of Kalispell, as well as people in the construction and real estate industries, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Kalispell City Planner Tom Jentz says that growth appears to be on the uptick.

"We're seeing steady growth in both those areas, the residential in particular. Residential has been quiet for the last three years. There's been a lot of foreclosures on the market, a lot of for sale signs on the market."

Kalispell realtor Richard Doran told us that's not the case anymore.

"In the entry level homes up to about 200 thousand there's getting to be a shortage of inventory. We're starting to see multiple offers on properties which we haven't seen in several years."

Anyone out and about in the Flathead Valley can see the signs of economic growth. Recent numbers released by the City of Kalispell show that construction grew by $25 million dollars in 2012.

That growth appears to be hitting the private construction industry as well, according to Ron Terry Construction owner Merna Terry.

"Last month we had 30 people contact us about having homes built. Not that they're all going to have a home built, but they've contacted us, and that's you know, probably 500% [of] what we've had previous months."

Jentz tells us there are several construction permit requests in front of the city that are currently on the schedule.

"Last year, at this point in the year, we had seen 15 new homes come in. This year we've seen 38 come through the pipeline. We're [also] reviewing nine more, so it's almost double, triple what we've seen in the past. So that's a really good sign."

Terry tells us that the last five years have been rough on their business as well as many others in the Flathead, but it feels like things are changing.

"Really good, it feels like we made it through it. We're on the other end, and it almost feels like we're getting close to where there's going to be a shortage of housing."

Richard Doran of Montana Brokers Real Estate also told us that now appears to be the time for people trying to purchase homes in the lower end of the market. He says those homes are being purchased quickly.

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