Tuesday, February 14, 2012

El Paso continues to lead state in new single-family permits in December

Of the 7,215 new single-family permits issued from Janaury through December of 2011, 1,561 of them, or 21 percent, were issued in El Paso County alone. According to new single-family December permit data by county, released by the Census Bureau, the counties with the largest numbers of single-family permits issued during 2011 were El Paso, Douglas, Denver, Larimer and Weld.

See here for recent posts about building permits.

New single-family permits from Jan-Dec
El Paso 1561
Douglas 963
Larimer 700
Denver 714
Arapahoe 613

Adams 516
Boulder 195
Broomfield 111
Chaffee 69
Clear Creek 11
Grand 23
Jefferson 437
Mesa 289
Park 72
Teller 54
Weld 687

(Note: All permits discussed in this article are single-family permits.)

However, when permit totals are adjusted to the number of existing housing units in each county, the counties with the larges amounts of permit activity were Chaffee, Douglas, Park, El Paso and Weld.

The first map shows the relative amount of single-family permit activity adjusted for the existing size of the housing stock in each county. The counties are then broken out in quartiles reflecting the amount of single-family activity compared to other counties. The top quartile has the largest amount of new permitting compared to the number of existing units. The bottom quartile has the smallest amount.

Top Q: Brown
2nd Q: Green
3rd Q: Orange
Bottom Q: Yellow
No data or no permits: White

In absolute terms, and as expected, the counties with the largest populations have the most permit activity. But when adjusted to the number of existing housing units (as shown in the map), some rural counties, such as Chaffee and Park show large amounts of activity.

from January through December of 2011, the areas with relatively few new single-family permits relative to the size of the existing stock are Pueblo, Jefferson and Boulder counties.

In the larger context, single-family permits remain well below totals experienced prior to 2007. From 2006 to 2008, single-family permits in the state decreased 60 percent from 31,000 to 12,000. Permit activity appears to have bottomed out in 2009. When discussing permit activity from 2008 to the present time, we're looking at permit totals that are near 20-year lows.

See here for a discussion on historical permit data by county.

It is also helpful to see which counties have shown the largest increases and decreases in permit activity. In the map below, we see that comparing January through December of this year to the same period last year, Larimer, Grand Routt and Teller counties were among the counties with the largest increases in single-family permit activity. Weld, Denver and Douglas counties also showed increases. On the other hand, permits decreased in Mesa, Adams, Arapahoe, El Paso and Pueblo counties.

Brown: Increase of 25 percent or more
Green: Increase of 1 to 24.9 percent
Orange: Decrease of 1 to 24.9 percent
Yellow: Decrease of 25 percent or more
White: No data or no change

Largest increases among metro counties:
Larimer 46 percent
Teller 145 percent
Douglas 17 percent
Denver 12 percent

In spite of year-over-year declines in totals, El Paso County continues to report a significant share of the state's overall permitting activity while Weld county reports a surprisingly large number of new single-family permits in the wake of very high foreclosure totals. Much of the new permit activity in Weld county is coming from expanding communities in southern Weld County.