Housing permits up over 25% yearly via August

The number of new residential permits issued so far this year significantly exceeded the numbers affected by COVID in the corresponding period in 2020 for both single and multi-family houses.

The number of new single-family home permits through the end of August was 775,772, up 25.8% from 616,856 last year, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. Multi-family permits also increased in a similar manner, increasing 27.5% from 307,614 as of August 2020 to 392,067.

The increase in single-family home permits was in all regions, most notably in the Northeast, which saw an increase of 29.3%, while all other areas also grew by more than 20%. The South reported 26.4% more permits, followed by the West with 25.7% and the Midwest with 21.6%.

"The District of Columbia recorded the highest growth rate during that time, at 208.0% from 87 to 268," noted Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington, vice president of the Association for Forecasting and Analysis, in a blog post.

While the capital and northeast of the country saw the largest percentage increases, the list of the top 10 most active single-family permit markets is dominated by cities in the south and west. Greater Houston leads the nation, issuing the most new single-family permits this year at 36,359, followed by the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex at 35,572. Third is the Phoenix area, which has recorded 25,209 permits.

"The ten states that collectively issue the highest number of single-family permits made up 62.3 percent of the total single-family permits issued," said Nanayakkara-Skillington.

The sustained surge in permits issued and the recovery in construction spending over the summer is promising news for the housing industry after a year of worries in the supply chain and increased building material costs.

Year-to-date multi-family permits also increased year-over-year in all four regions, with 38 states increasing their numbers from August 2020, while 12 states and the District of Columbia reported decreases.

The west led in the number of new multi-family housing permits, which grew by 33.7% annually, followed by the northeast, which saw a growth of 27.2%. The Midwest saw 24.9% more multi-family permits and the South 24.6%. New Mexico increased the total number of multi-family permits to 1,804 in 2020 from 539 at the same time in 2020, an annual increase of 234.7%.

But while the metropolitan areas with the most new single-family permits were concentrated in certain regions, the growth in the multi-family segment was more pronounced. The New York-Newark-Jersey City statistical area outperformed the rest of the country with 29,058 multi-family permits issued through August this year, followed by Austin, Texas with 19,543 and Dallas-Fort Worth with 18,869.

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