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Permits Grow Across
Most States, Hurricane Effect Fading

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

By Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington, Builder

Over the eleven months ending in November 2017, the total number of single-family permits issued nationwide reached 761,229. This is 10.2% ahead of its level over the first eleven months of 2016, 690,836. The results from the SOC are similar, single-family permits over the first eleven months of 2017, 761,100 are 10.3% ahead of their level over the same period of 2016, 689,900*.

Between November 2016 to November 2017, 46 states and the District of Columbia saw growth in single-family permits issued. Eighteen states recorded a growth above 10.2% but four states had a decline in growth. Hawaii had the highest growth rate during this time at 28.2% while North Dakota declined by 10.3%.

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In the single-family sector, Texas led with 106,374 permits issued year-to-date in November 2017 and Florida was second with 78,020 permits issued year-to-date in November 2017. Meanwhile the lowest number came from the District of Columbia with 342 permits. The 10 states issuing the highest number of single-family permits combined accounted for 57.8% of the single-family permits issued.

Between November 2016 to November 2017, 37 states and the District of Columbia saw growth in the total number of permits issued, which includes single-family and multi-family permits. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia recorded a growth above 6.7% while 13 states had a decline in growth. District of Columbia had the highest growth rate at 37.6% while Georgia only grew by 0.1% during this period. Out of the 13 states that had a decline, the largest decline was in Connecticut with 15.7%.

Year-to-date, ending in November 2017, the total number of multi-family permits issued nationwide reached 409,003. This is 0.7% ahead of its level over the first eleven months of 2016, 406,069. The results from the SOC show a small decline of 1.7% in multi-family permits over the first eleven months of 2017, 406,100 compared to the same period of 2016, 413,000. Together these two data sources suggest that multifamily starts over the first 11 months of 2017 were likely about flat. Between November 2016 to November 2017, 27 states and the District of Columbia grew while 23 states, recorded a decline in multi-family permits. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia recorded a growth above 0.7%. Mississippi lead the way with a growth of 127.9%, from 445 to 1,014, while Oklahoma had the largest decline of 55.3% from 3,171, to 1,418.

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In the multi-family sector, Texas issued the highest number of permits in November 2017 year-to-date at 50,853, with California and Florida issuing the second and third most multifamily permits year-to-date, 48,765 and 32,127 respectively. Meanwhile Rhode Island issued the lowest number of multi-family permits at 146.

Hurricane Impacts Fading

In the months since Texas & Florida were hit by significant hurricanes, both states have posted mixed recoveries in permits issued. Single-family permits fell in the month that the hurricane Emergency Declaration was declared, but have grown over subsequent months. However, multifamily starts have not shown noticeable sensitivity to the hurricanes alone. However, multifamily permits across Texas and Florida combine for approximately one-sixth of permits nationwide.

In Florida, single-family permits fell 11.7% in September, the month that the hurricane emergency declaration was declared, compared to a year ago but grew 24.9% on a 12-month basis ending in October and 18.8% on a 12-month basis ending in November. In the multi-family sector, permits were declining on an annual basis in the months leading up to the hurricane and have continued in October and November.

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In Texas, single-family permits fell 2.3% in August, the month that the Major Disaster Declaration was declared, compared to a year ago, when the state was hit by hurricane Harvey but registered year-over-year growth in the months that followed. In the multi-family sector, permits fell 38.4% in September compared to a year ago, increased 64.8% in October but declined 15.4% in November in the same time period.

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The growth in single-family permits over each of October and November partly reflected the post-hurricane recovery that took place across Texas and Florida. On a 12 month basis, not seasonally adjusted single-family permits recorded healthy rates of growth, 15.1% in October and 10.9% in November. Growth of single-family permits in the South were similarly robust, 13.9% in October and 12.6% in November. The slowdown in single-family permits across the country to 1.8% in December pertly reflects a decline in the annual growth of single-family permits in the South to 1.6%. Although the impact of the hurricane on the flow of single-family residential construction may have diminished, its impact is still likely affecting residential improvements and exacerbating the labor shortage.

These tables provide more information about each individual state.

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