Builders Report Slowdown Hits Flathead

By Beacon Staff

KALISPELL – Builders in the Flathead Valley say the nationwide housing slump has finally hit the area.

Builders say there could be layoffs and lowered sales goals for 2009, although they expect the region to rebound more quickly than other parts of the country.

Bob Helder is president of the Flathead Building Association and co-owner of Robert W. Ross Building Contractor in Kalispell. He says the area bubble has burst.

Building permits in the valley this year were at their lowest levels since 2001, down 26 percent from 2007.

Builders report they have trimmed their work forces, and reduced speculative building of homes.

Others say that the market for vacation and second homes is still doing well, especially those with price tags over $2 million.