Six of 2000's top ten areas (in terms of sheer volume of permitted new residential construction) were able to improve upon their year-earlier totals during the first eleven months of 2001. Atlanta remained - by a margin of more than 51% over Phoenix, its nearest competitor - the nation's leading volume metro area for home building last year. And 3.2% more permits were issued for new home construction in the metro Atlanta market during the first eleven months of last year than over January-November of 2000, so momentum in this metro area continued reasonably strong even amidst the turmoil of 2001's final months, after recording gains of about 6% during both 1999 and 2000.
Among the rest of 2000's top ten, Orlando saw its residential building market cool most significantly (with permit volume running more than 8% behind the 2000 pace through the first eleven months of last year). There were also losses recorded in the Charlotte, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. metro areas, but they were of a smaller magnitude, and each area continued to record a high volume of residential construction activity. Las Vegas and Dallas - two major markets that had "down" years in 2000, in terms of permit growth - came roaring back with strong over-the-year gains through the first eleven months of 2001.
Among the 15 metropolitan areas that made up the balance of 2000's "Top 25" home building markets, ten recorded more housing permits during January-November 2001 than over the comparable period of 2000. However, three metropolitan areas - Austin, Detroit, and Seattle - registered steep declines of more than 10% in permit activity, according to preliminary data through November of last year. On the other hand, two important areas - Raleigh-Durham (+9.0% through the first eleven months of 2001) and Portland (+5.5%) - came back strong last year after both had recorded steep declines in permit activity between 1999 and 2000.
Among other metro areas that appeared on the list of "Top 50" residential markets during 2000, several of the strongest growth markets during the first eleven months of 2001 were represented by Florida cities: Sarasota-Bradenton (+26.0%), Fort Myers (+23.1%), Miami (+18.7%), and Jacksonville (+16.2%). Some other medium-sized metro areas with impressive permit volume and strong growth through November of 2001 included: Richmond (+37.0%), Albuquerque (+31.5%), Salt Lake City (+18.6%), San Antonio (+14.6%), Greensboro (+13.5%), Nashville (+13.1%), Kansas City (+9.4%), and Colorado Springs (+6.7%). And most of California's "second-tier" metro areas continued to record solid gains in permit volume through the first eleven months of 2001 (Fresno - +13.5%; Bakersfield - +12.1%; Modesto - +3.1%).