Permit volume throughout the nation grew by 2.6% during the first five months of this year, and 13 of the country's top 25 metropolitan areas in 2001 recorded gains during the first five months of 2002 compared with permit volume during January-May 2001. Metro Atlanta registered 61.5% more permits than any other metro area in the United States, but the city's volume through five months of this year was running only 0.1% ahead of its January-May 2001 total.
Among 2001's largest home building markets (as measured by the combined total of single-family and multifamily permitted construction), Minneapolis (+22.6%), Houston (+20.1%), Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., (+13.8%), Fort Worth, Texas, (+13.4%), Columbus, Ohio, (+12.1%) and Sacramento, Calif., (+10.4%) were at double-digit growth rates through the first five months of 2002. The major metro areas recording the steepest declines in permit volume over the first five months of this year were Los Angeles (-37.4%), Kansas City, Mo./Kan., (-28.4%), Raleigh-Durham, N.C., (-27.1%) and Seattle (-20.2%).
However, permit volume has risen solidly this year in a number of moderate-size, industrial-based metro markets, including Des Moines, Iowa, (+97.8%), Milwaukee (+15.8%), Baltimore (+13.4%) and Philadelphia (+8.6%). And Florida's metro markets almost without exception recorded strong gains during the first five months of this year. In addition to the increases registered in Tampa and Orlando, home building momentum has grown this year in Melbourne (+63.9%), Fort Pierce (+41.7%), West Palm Beach-Boca Raton (+31.2%), Daytona Beach (+23.8%), Sarasota-Bradenton (+21.5%) and Naples (+12.3%).