Only three of 1999's top ten areas (in terms of sheer volume of new residential construction) have been able to build upon their impressive year-ago totals through the first three-quarters of this year. Atlanta continues to shine, remaining the nation's leading volume metro area for home building (besting its nearest competitor by nearly 40%), and growing at a better-than-12% clip so far during 2000. The Washington, D.C. and Chicago metro areas have also improved upon last year's permit pace, although with gains very modest when compared to the Atlanta performance.
The other seven highest-volume metropolitan areas all let fewer permits for new residential construction work through September of this year than during the first three-quarters of 1999. Declines among last year's top ten have been especially steep in Tampa-St. Petersburg (-20.6%) and Dallas (-18.3%).
Among the 15 metropolitan areas that made up the balance of last year's "Top 25" home building markets, only 40% have recorded more housing permits through September of this year than they did during the first nine months of 1999. However, just six metropolitan areas - Kansas City, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, San Diego, Detroit, and Minneapolis -- registered declines of 5% or in permit activity through two-thirds of 2000, compared with six areas with 5%-plus losses among last year's "Top 10". The most impressive over-the-year gains have been recorded in the Los Angeles, New York, and Austin metropolitan areas.
Four metro areas that were just outside of last year's "Top 25" -- and that have been coming on strong to the point that they could break into this year's highest-volume list - are Sacramento (11,330 permits, +18.9%),Fort Worth (with 10,420 permits issued through September 2000, up 6.6% from a year ago), and Orange County (10,234 permits, +14.7%).
Two areas that were on 1999's Top 25 list - Kansas City and Portland -- are likely to drop off this list for 2000 because of the steep decline in permit volumes that both have registered through the first three-quarters of this year. But there's another group of metro areas that were "contenders" for last year's "Top 25" list that have faded badly this year. Although permit volume is still reasonably high, disappointing losses were recorded through September of 2000 in Baltimore (-25.3%), San Antonio (-22.8%), Miami (-22.2%), Nashville (-21.0%), Cincinnati (-18.1%), and Fort Lauderdale (-8.8%).
Building Materials Price Inflation - September
Housing Starts - September
Consumer Confidence By Region - September
New Residential Building Permits by Region