Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Single-family activity fell in most Colorado counties from 2010 to 2011

Although early estimates showed an increase of 2.6 percent in single-family permitting acmtivity from 2010 to 2011 in Colorado, more recent county-by-county data released by the Census Bureau shows a  decline of 3.9 percent in single-family permits over that time. Indeed, only 14 of Colorado's 64 counties reported increases in the number of single-family permits issued from 2010 to 2011. For all counties combined, the total number of single-family permits fell from 8,790 during 2010 to 8,442 during 2011.

The first map shows the counties with growing single-family permit activity in burgundy and green. The counties in orange and tan show counties that had fewer single-family permits in 2011 than in 2010. White counties showed no change over the time period.

Budgundy: increase of more than 25%
Green: increase between 1% and 25%
Orange: Decrease between 1% and 25%
Tan: Decrease of mroe than 25%
White: no change 

The counties that reported increases in single-family permits: 
Moffatt, +42%
Routt, +48
Summit, +26%
Gilpin, +300%
Boulder, +41%
Larimer, +47%
Denver, +11
Douglas, +17
Lincoln, +300
Mineral, +80
Custe, 11%
Las Animas, +10%

All other counties reported decreases or no change.

Statewide, only a handful of counties drove overall totals in permits from 2010 to 2011. Although some small counites, such as Gilpin and Lincoln, experienced a tripling in single-family permitting, these numbers were very small. In Gilpin county, for example, permits increased from 4 to 16.

What drove most statewide activity in single-family activity was the new permit activity in the larger metro counties such as Boulder, Larimer, Denver and Douglas counties.

The number of single-family permits in these four counties combined increased by 25 percent.

Even fewer counties reported increases when compared to 2008,  that most recent year to reflect peak permitting levels.

Compared to 2008, only 10 counties showed increases in single-family activity.  All other counties reported fewer single-family permits issued in 2011 than in 2008. In many cases, the decline in single-family permit activity declined by 50 percent or more from 2008 to 2011.

The ten counties that reported increases from 2008 to 2011 were:
Boulder, +27%
Broomfield, +20%
Clear Creek, +6.6%
Custer, +24%
Douglas, +3.9%
El Paso, +0.5%
Jefferson, +17%
Larimer, +8.1%
Logan, +18%

These counties have now either surpassed, or on their way to surpassing, peak levels in permit activity experienced during the last expansion. Many other counties are still well below peak levels.

The ten counties that are still fathest below 2008 levels are:

Garfield, -88%
Grand, -90%
Jackson, -83%
Moffat, -75%
Montrose, -67%
Morgan, -72%
Pueblo, -67%
Rio Blanco, -71%
Routt, -76%
San Juan, -85%

With the exception of Morgan and Pueblo counties, the counties that are farthest below 2008 levels are found in the mountains and on the Western Slope.

Single-family permitting rates

As might be expected, the most populous counties tend to supply most of the new single-family permit activity. Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, El Paso, Larimer, Jefferson, and Weld counties alone accounted for 61 percent of all single-family permit activity during 2010 and 2011.

If we adjust the number of new permits to the existing number of occupied households in each county, we get a better idea of which counties are adding the most single-family units compared to the existing housing stock.

The second map shows single-family permit activity adjusted for the existing size of the housing stock. We find that the counties that, given their size, many of the counties in central and sourthwestern Colorado issued a sizable numbe rof single-family permits. Along the front range, the most active counties were Weld, Broomfield, Douglas and El Paso Counties.

The map is broken into quartiles:
Burgundy: Top quartile
Green: Second quartile
Orange: Third Quartile
Tan: Bottom quartile
White: No permits

Among the most populous counties, Jefferson, Pueblo and Mesa counties reported small amounts of single-family permit activity, adjusted for the existing housing stock.

Conclusions: Taking into account overall permitting activity as well as recent growth rates in single-family permits, we can conclude that El Paso, Douglas, Denver and Larimer counties are among the most active counties in single-family permitting activity as of the end of 2011. Other counties that have shown relatively high rates of activity include Adams, Boulder and Weld counties.