The Atlanta metropolitan area was again the nation's premier home building market in 2001, at least as measured by the combined volume of permitted new residential single-family and multifamily construction. Phoenix remained the runner-up market, but the gap between the two cities widened as Atlanta recorded further modest growth (+2.3%) while Phoenix's volume shrank modestly (by 4.4%) from 2000 to 2001.
Among the rest of the top 10, Orlando's residential building market cooled most significantly (with permit volume fading 6.5% from the 2000 level). There was also a small loss in the Washington, D.C., metro area. But Las Vegas and Dallas - two major markets that had down years in 2000 in terms of permit growth - roared back with double-digit gains during 2001. And the vast Riverside/San Bernardino market of Southern California had permit volume expand by almost a quarter above its solid 2000 activity.
Among the 15 metropolitan areas that made up the balance of the top 25 home building markets, 10 recorded increases in activity from 2000 to 2001.
Two metropolitan areas that were in the top 25 for 2000 - Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore. - dropped off the list in 2001. Permit volume in Austin plunged 25.5% from 2000 to 2001, while Portland's gain of 1.1% paled in comparison with the greater-than-15% increases recorded by the new members of the top 25, Kansas City and Fort Worth.
On the near-miss list for the top 25 residential permit metro areas were Miami (+15.3% from 2000 to 2001), Portland, Austin, and Jacksonville, Fla. (+20.9%). The other metro markets that issued more than 10,000 permits for new residential units during 2001 were Cincinnati (+1.8%), Fort Myers/Cape Coral, Fla. (+19.0%), Greensboro/Winston-Salem, N.C. (+12.2%), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (-8.0%), Nashville, Tenn. (+11.1%), St. Louis (-2.2%), San Antonio (+19.3%), Baltimore (-9.8%) and West Palm Beach/Boca Raton, Fla. (+5.8%).