Only two of Colorado's 64 counties issues more multifamily permits during 2011 than they did during 2008. 2008 was a peak year for multifamily production before the financial crisis led to a significant downturn in new construction of all types of housing units. According to census bureau data on building permits for 2011 in all Colorado counties, El Paso county issued 52 percent more multifamily permits during 2011 than it did during 2008, and Jefferson county issued 161 percent more multifamily permits in 2011 than in 2008.
The number of multifamily permits issued in the following counties fell by 100 percent (fell to zero) from 2008 to 2011:
Adams, Archuleta, Broomfield, Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Pitkin, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Routt, San Miguel and Weld.
Among the 12 counties that reported any multifamily permit activity during 2011, Larimer, El Paso, Denver and Jefferson counties were the primary drivers behind statewide totals with 81 percent of all multifamily permit activity during 2011 coming out of those four counties.
The number of permits reported among the metropolitan counties:
El Paso 657
If we adjust the number of new multifamily permits issued to the existing number of housing units, we find that Denver county was the most active county during 2011 with 1 permit issued per 144 occupied housing units. The second most active county was Larimer county with one new multifamily unit permitted for every 256 occupied housing units.
The map shows the counties broken into quartiles according to the number of permits adjusted for the size of the existing housing stock.
Highest quartile: Denver
Second-highest: Larimer, Delta
Third-highest Eagle, Jefferson, Douglas, El Paso, Alamosa
Bottom quartile: Arapahoe, Boulder, Summit, Mesa
All others: no activity
From 2010 to 2011, the counties that reported the biggest increases in multifamily activity were Denver, Douglas, El Paso and Jefferson counties. From 2010 to 2011, most counties reported declines, or reported zero multifamily activity in both years.
Among the counties that did report growth from 2010 to 2011, the growth rates were as follows:
El Paso 753%
Conclusions: Among the counties that were active in new multifamily permitting in 2008, most have completely stopped building multifamily units as of 2011. Garfield county, for example, permitted 95 new multifamily units in 2008, but issued zero multifam permits during 2011. This sort of trend has been found in numerous mountain counties. Few counties saw growth from 2010 to 2011, although several Front Range counties has reported substantial growth rates, and those counties tend to be driving statewide totals in multifamily activity.