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 December 2013 to December 2012, single-family permits were up 44.1 percent and multifamily permits were up 27.7 percent.
Month to month numbers can be very volatile, however, so if we look at the full year combined, as we see in the second graph, we find that single-family permits increased 22 percent, and multifamily permits increased 27 percent. This is a solid, but much more moderate, increase than what we saw in permit growth from 2011 to 2012 when multifamily permits rose by 99 percent. From 2011 to 2012, single-family permits grew 42 percent. YTD through December:
The third graph shows single-family permits separated out by month and year. Note that December 2013's single-family total was at a seven-year high for the month. We have to go back to December 2006 to find a more active December for single-family permits. There were 1,152 single-family permits during December 2013 and 902 during December 2012.
The last graph shows multifamily monthly totals, and in this case we see that December 2013 was also a very active month for multifamily permits compared to previous Decembers. In this case, December 2013 was a six-year high in multifam permits, and was up to 1,248 during December 2013 from December 2012's total of 866.