Developers push to meet housing needs

Argen Duncan

The Portales area has seen new development in six subdivisions in the last 13 months, a large number for the city, the planning and zoning director said.

Since November 2009, Portales Planning and Zoning Director Sammy Standefer said four new subdivisions have been approved and two have begun a new phase of development.

Of those, one new subdivision, Farm Town, is in the county, and the rest — Ravenwood Estates, Territorial Estates, Boston Home Spot, Oakwood Manor and Prairie Walk — are within city limits.

“It’s a lot for us, for the city,” Standefer said.

Before about 2004, Portales didn’t have many subdivisions at all, he said.

The subdivisions are offering a combined 496 housing units, most for sale and some for rent, in various stages of development. Among them, they are expected to offer townhouses, manufactured homes, custom homes and “spec homes,” which the developer builds before finding a buyer.

Also, Baca subdivision, approved in 2004, just finished development and has two lots available out of its 16 near Greyhound Arena, Standefer said. Sunrise Addition, located on Aquarius and also approved in 2004, is under development with nine of its 19 lots still available.

In 2009, Standefer said, the city issued construction permits for 60 new homes, three times the average annual number for the previous 20 years. He expects 2010 permit numbers to follow suit.

Standefer said several things have contributed to the housing development. Six years ago, a city housing study indicated a shortage of 300 houses.

“That combined with Cannon (Air Force Base expansion), Eastern New Mexico University growing and the agricultural industry growing has kept us with the need for housing in Portales,” he said.

Roosevelt County Community Development Corp. Executive Director Greg Fisher added the growth in local trucking business to the list of reasons.

“It’s very tough because of the economy,” Fisher said of housing development.

Financing is hard to get, he said. However, Fisher said local developers have resources and connections that allow them to work and there is a lot confidence in the local market.

According to the New Mexico Association of Realtors, he said, Roosevelt County is the fastest-growing new home market in the state in terms of percentage.

Boston Home Spot developer Jody Bailey said he and three partners in the project didn’t face problems from the bad economy because of the financial expertise of his partners.

The group is starting development with manufactured homes to be available for rent in January because they saw a need for quality rental properties. However, Bailey said they would provide whatever other housing the community might need in the future.

All of the Boston Home Spot developers are from Portales and believe in the community, he said.

“And this project was started to help build up our community with quality housing for people who want to live in the Portales area,” Bailey continued.

Portales City Manager Tom Howell said the city sees a little gross receipts tax from the sale of construction materials, and a big increase in gross receipts tax when people move to town and spend money here.

“We like to see new growth,” he said. “We like to see new people in Portales.”