Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Both single-family and multifamily permits up 25 percent this year

The Census Bureau released both September and October housing permit totals this week, and we see few surprises here with a continuation of the overall growth trend we've seen since 2009.

The first graph shows month-to-month totals for single-family and multifamily permits. We see the overall upward trend and a clear seasonal pattern in single-family. Single-family has already peaked for the year. Comparing October 2013 to October 2012, single-family permits were up 4.3 percent and multifamily permits were up 109 percent.

Month to month numbers can be very volatile, however, so if we look at the first ten months of the year combined, as we see in the second graph, we find that in both single-family and multifamily that the increase is 25 percent. This is a solid, but more moderate, increase than what we saw in permit growth from 2011 to 2012 when multifamily permits rose by 85 percent. From 2011 to 2012, single-family permits grew 41 percent.   YTD through October: 

The third graph shows single-family permits separated out by month and year. Note that October 2013's single-family total was at a six-year high for the month. We have to go back to October 2007 to find a more active October for single-family permits. There were 1306 single-family permits during October 2013 and 1252 during October 2012. 

The last graph shows multifamily monthly totals, and in this case we see that October 2013 was also a very active month for multifamily permits compared to previous recent Octobers. In this case, October 2013 was a 5-year high in multifam permits,  and was up to 777 during October 2013 from October 2012's total of 371. 

Not surprisingly, growth in permits is not matching that of last year, which was a very heated year in terms of growth over 2011. Nevertheless, the numbers point toward continued growth in new housing production for now.