Among 1999's top ten areas in terms of sheer volume of new residential construction, only three - Atlanta, Chicago, and the Washington, DC metropolitan area - were able to build upon their totals through the first five months of this year. The other seven highest-volume metropolitan areas all let fewer permits for new residential construction work through May of this year than during January-May 1999. Declines among last year's top ten have been especially steep in Orlando and Dallas, with over-the-year losses of more than 20%.
Among the 15 metropolitan areas that made up the balance of last year's "Top 25" home building markets, the growth momentum so far this year has been somewhat stronger, with a respectable 7 of these areas recording increases in building permits so far in 2000. Only the Portland metropolitan area had registered a decline of more than 10% in permit activity through five months of 2000, compared with three areas with double-digit losses among last year's "Top 10". The most impressive over-the-year gains have been recorded in Los Angeles, New York, Denver, and Riverside-San Bernardino.
Three metro areas that were just outside of last year's "Top 25" -- and that are coming on strong to the point that they could break into this year's highest-volume list - are St. Louis (5,954 permits, +10.4%), Sacramento (with 5,896 residential permits issued through May 2000, up 21.5% from a year ago), and Memphis (4,686 permits, +20.2%).
However, there's another group of metro areas that were "contenders" for last year's "Top 25" list that have faded this year. Although permit volume is still reasonably high, disappointing losses have been recorded in 2000 by Miami (-25.7%), Cincinnati (-16.9%), Fort Lauderdale (-10.7%), Nashville (-9.5%), and Jacksonville (-8.9%).
Building Materials Price Inflation
Consumer Confidence By Region
New Residential Building Permits by Region