Permit volume throughout the nation as a whole rose by 5.0% during the first nine months of this year, and 13 of the country's top 25 metropolitan areas in 2001 managed gains through the first three quarters of 2002 when compared with January-September 2001. The Atlanta area recorded 45.1% more permits than any other metro area in the United States, but the sprawling area's total volume through nine months of this year was running 0.8% behind the January-September 2001 total.
Among 2001's largest home building markets (as measured by the volume of the combined total of single-family and multifamily permitted construction), Fort Worth (+23.0%), Houston (+22.8%), Riverside-San Bernardino (+21.1%), Sacramento (+16.8%), New York (+15.8%), Tampa (+14.2%), Minneapolis (+12.4%) and Philadelphia (11.5%) grew at double-digit rates through the first three quarters of 2002. The major metro areas recording the steepest declines in permit volume over the first nine months of this year were Denver (-27.7%), Raleigh-Durham (-19.4%), San Diego (-16.5%), Los Angeles (-12.7%) and Charlotte (-10.4%).
Permit volume has risen solidly in a number of moderate-size metro markets, including Des Moines, Iowa (+62.0%), McAllen-Edinburg, Texas (+24.7%), Norfolk-Newport News, Va. (+15.6%), Birmingham, Ala. (+13.8%), and Charleston, S.C. (+13.2%). And Florida's metro markets, almost without exception, recorded strong gains in residential permit volume during the first three quarters of this year. In addition to the solid increases in Tampa and Orlando among those areas on last year's top 25 list, smaller metro markets areas that have had increased momentum in home construction during 2002 include Ocala (+68.4%), Fort Pierce (+51.7%), Melbourne (+46.7%), Pensacola (+25.8%), West Palm Beach-Boca Raton (+25.5%), Sarasota-Bradenton (+20.6%) and Fort Lauderdale (+14.9%).