Permit volume throughout the nation grew by 2.6% during the first six months of this year, but only 12 of the country's top 25 metropolitan areas in 2001 recorded first-half gains when compared with figures from January-June 2001. The Atlanta area registered 52.7% more permits than any other metro area, but the city's total volume through six months of this year was running 1.9% behind the January-June 2001 total.
Among the largest home building markets in 2001 (as measured by the combined total of single-family and multifamily permitted construction), Minneapolis (+19.2%), Houston (+19.2%), Riverside-San Bernardino (+13.5%), Fort Worth (+13.0%), New York (+11.7%) and Sacramento (+10.3%) were growing at double-digit rates through the first six months of 2002. The major metro areas recording the steepest declines in permit volume during the first half of this year were Los Angeles (-31.2%), Raleigh-Durham (-25.7%), Kansas City (-21.0%), Denver (-19.3%) and San Diego (-18.6%).
Permit volume has risen solidly this year in a number of moderate-size metro markets, including Des Moines, Iowa (+80.2%), Norfolk-Newport News, Va. (+37.7%), McAllen-Edinburg, Texas (+19.3%), Birmingham, Ala. (+16.6%), Albuquerque, N.M. (+12.7%), and Charleston, S.C. (+12.1%). And Florida's metro markets, almost without exception, recorded strong gains in residential permit volume during the first six months of this year. In addition to the solid increases registered in Tampa and Orlando, smaller metro markets areas with increased momentum in home construction during 2002 include Melbourne (+55.2%), West Palm Beach-Boca Raton (+42.9%), Fort Pierce (+40.2%), Sarasota-Bradenton (+23.7%) and Naples (+13.3%).