The number of residential building permits issued nationwide during 2002 was 5.6% greater than during 2001, according to preliminary estimates by the U.S. Commerce Department. Of the total of about 1.729 million units permitted during the year, approximately 76% were for single-family homes.
Unit-permit totals for eight of the nine regions of the country were higher last year than during 2001. The South led the way, while a slight decline in permitted new home construction was recorded in the Rocky Mountain states.
The top three states in permitted new residential construction last year were Florida (182,091 units, an increase of 9.0% from the 2001 total), Texas (160,530 units, +6.8%) and California (158,488, +8.0%). Six other states recorded construction permits for more than 50,000 residential units during 2002 -- Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Virginia, Illinois and Ohio.
The number of residential units permitted for construction during 2002 was greater than in 2001 for all but six states. The only states that recorded fewer permits last year than the year before were Kansas (-19.0%), Colorado (-12.9%), Michigan (-2.4%), Nevada (-2.2%), North Carolina (-1.2%) and Massachusetts (-0.9%). Among the 23 states that issued 25,000 or more new housing permits during 2002, the strongest over-the-year gains were recorded in Virginia (+13.2%), Washington (+11.1%), Missouri (+11.0%), Florida (+9.0%) and New York (+8.5%).