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Spokane's City Council adopted two changes to the building code this week, both making it easier for home builders to put up new homes.
The first was removing the mandate that water service lines had to be done with copper pipe.
That deal came out of work with the Spokane Home Builders Association, who has suggested the city should allow pipes go in with less expensive High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipe.
Copper is still an alternative but not required. That change to poly is based on the high cost of copper, its attraction to site thieves and poly'srelatively simpler installation.
The second change requires new water meters for homes to be placed within 3 feet of the property line and no longer in basements.
The change will make it easier to read and access meters. Additionally, meters located outside will no longer be required to be housed inside an expensive concrete vault; the ordinance allows installation in a plastic PVC box.
The city's Water Department has said roughly 80 percent of builders already install water meters at the property line, which has been the typical rule in neighboring jurisdictions.
Both changes mean home construction costs can be kept reasonable, allowing more new homeowners to buy, said Phil Folyer, a past president of the Spokane Home Builders Association.
The association also cited a study by the National Association of Home Builders asserting that in the Spokane area, a $1,000 increase in the cost of a new home will price about 244 families out of the market.
This weekend and Oct. 4-6 will be the dates for this year's Fall Festival of Homes, presented by the Spokane Home Builders Association. The show sponsor is Pro-Build Spokane.
This year's show features 32 new homes by 18 builders, constructed at assorted area sites. The four "host" sites are River District in Liberty Lake, Elk Ridge Heights in the Spokane Valley, Five Mile Heights in North Spokane and Eagle Ridge in South Spokane.
Hours will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. For more information, go to SpokaneFestivalofHomes.com. Maps and event information are available. You can also look at the printed special insert in the Sept. 25 edition of the Spokesman-Review.
The event includes readers' polls and a number of promotions including prizes from several Spokane-area retailers.
The SR and Spokesman.com featured a business story today on the rising hope that the area's housing market is coming back.
Today's Washington Post had the exact same idea today. Here's its take, which is nearly identical to the SR story, in terms of why people care about new home construction:
New homes are popping up in more and more neighborhoods around the country in recent months, offering one of the most promising signs yet that the nation’s long-suffering housing market is actually starting to heal.
The increase in new home construction is particularly encouraging because of the economic benefits that ripple out each time a construction crew breaks ground. The growing demand for new homes has put contractors back to work, helped shore up some municipal budgets and pumped money into local economies.
“When you create jobs again in the housing market, you create some multiple of those jobs elsewhere,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist at Metrostudy, a national research firm that tracks new home construction. “To build a house, you’re causing more demand for lumber, furniture, drapes, carpets, cement, steel, appliances . . . These are all industries that get stimulated by housing.”
Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) has hired Michael Cathcart as its director of government affairs.
Good weather and the annual home show. Your weekend awaits.
The annual Spokane Home Builders Association's Premier Home Improvement Show kicked off earlier this week and runs through Sunday at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.
Tickets are $8.00 with kids 12 and under free.
This year the featured attractions include a G&S Landscape "pro corner" and a 72-inch doghouse and a chicken coop built by student apprentices in the SHBA training program. Hours Saturday are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The state Public Disclosure Commission is opening a formal investigation into a complaint the home builders filed last month against Envision Spokane.
The Spokane Home Builders Association filed a complaint last month, alleging the citizens group did not file all the necessary information on where they get their money and how it was spent during the time they were working on the Community Bill of Rights, a proposed amendment to the City Charter that will appear on the November ballot.
Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for the PDC, said the case was assigned to a staff investigators after an initial review.
The formal investigation may take about 120 days, she said. About three-fourths of all initial complaints are assigned to a staff investigator after they are submitted and undergo an initial review.