Seven of 2000's top ten areas (in terms of sheer volume of permitted new residential construction) were able to improve upon their year-earlier totals during the first-third of 2001. Atlanta remains — by a margin of more than 44% over its nearest competitor so far this year — the nation's leading volume metro area for home building. And 1.4% more permits were issued for new home construction in the metro Atlanta market during January-April of this year than over the first four months of 2000, so momentum has yet to wane — although over-the-year growth in the area has slowed over the past two months. Among the rest of 2000's top ten, only the Denver, Charlotte, and Phoenix metro areas lost ground through April 2001 compared to the first four months of last year.
Among the 15 metropolitan areas that made up the balance of 2000's "Top 25" home building markets, ten recorded more housing permits during January-April 2001 than over the comparable period last year. However, three metropolitan areas — Minneapolis, Detroit, and Philadelphia — registered steep declines of 10% or more in permit activity, according to preliminary data for the first-third of this year. Despite electricity shortages, almost all of California's metro areas continued to record solid gains in permit volume through the first four months of 2001. And in the rest of the country, two areas — Raleigh-Durham and Portland — are on the comeback trail this year after recording sharp declines in permit activity between 1999 and 2000.
It's noteworthy that five Florida areas that were among the "Top 50" residential markets during 2000, based on permit volume, have recorded strong enough growth through the first-third of this year to make them contenders for 2001's "Top 25" list: Fort Myers (+40.6%), Jacksonville (+38.1%), Fort Lauderdale (+25.4%), , Sarasota-Bradenton (+25.0%), and Miami (+24.5%). A couple of other metro areas with impressive permit volume and strong growth through four months of 2001 are San Aon tentonio (+32.7%) and Kansas City (+15.6%).
On the whole, permit gains in the major metropolitan areas of the country have held up well so far this year — well enough to keep the nation's total permit volume ahead of its year-ago total. By the end of 2001, however, we'd expect to see overall permit volume decline — if only slightly — from the exceptionally high total recorded during 2000.
Building Materials Price Inflation - April
Housing Starts - April
Consumer Confidence by Region - April
New Residential Building Permits by Region - April
Recent Trends in New Residential Permits for 2000's Top 25 Metro Areas