The number of residential permits issued nationwide during the first six months of this year was 2.6% greater than during January-June 2001, according to preliminary estimates by the U.S. Commerce Department. Activity in the largest-volume home building state, Florida, was particularly strong, with first-half 2002 volume coming in 12.4% ahead of the total for the first six months of last year. And permit volume in "runner-up" Texas was ahead 7.0% compared with year-ago volume. But "No. 3" in 2001 California was going in the opposite direction, recording a decline of 5.0% in permit activity during the first six months of 2002.
Unit-permit totals for all seven regions in the Northeast, Midwest and South were higher during January-June of this year than over the first half of 2001. But in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast subregions of the West, permit totals fell well below year-ago totals during January-June 2002.
The number of residential units permitted for construction in the first six months of this year was greater than during the first half of 2001 in 38 states. Among the 12 states recording over-the-year losses, the largest percentage decreases were in Kansas (-20.1%), Nevada (-16.5%), Colorado (-14.1%), Idaho (-10.7%) and North Carolina (-8.6%). Lesser losses were recorded in Washington, Indiana, California, Tennessee, Arizona, Ohio and Michigan.
However, these losses were more than offset by gains in every other state. Double-digit over-the-year gains were recorded in 19 states. Notable among relatively high-volume home building states were gains in Alabama (+25.1%), Minnesota (+13.4%), Florida (+12.4%), New York (+11.1%), South Carolina (+11.0%) and Oregon (+9.2%).