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Houston Remains Top Single Family Housing Market

0 501 Market Intelligence

Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio account for 37% of single family housing starts in the twenty largest metro housing markets. Phoenix, Tampa and Riverside, Orlando and Los Angeles are the only housing boom cities still left on the top twenty list. Washington has moved up to third place on the strength of tens of thousands of new federal jobs, says Reed Construction Data chief economist Jim Haughey.

Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio account for 37% of single family housing starts in the twenty largest metro housing markets. Phoenix, Tampa and Riverside, Orlando and Los Angeles are the only housing boom cities still left on the top twenty list. Washington has moved up to third place on the strength of tens of thousands of new federal jobs. Atlanta, the largest housing market for several years has dropped to 8th place due to a weak Georgia economy and a large surplus of unsold homes.

Dallas and Houston together now have more multi family permits than New York City. New York City had nearly 25% more multi family starts than Dallas and Houston combined as recently as 2007. The recession cut permits about 80% in New York City but only about 50% in the two Texas cities. Permits are up from a year ago in many college and oil patch towns that escaped both the 2005-06 housing boom and the worst of the ongoing economic recession.

Top Single Family Permit Metros   Top Multi Family Permit Metros
Metro SF Permits
Last 12 Months
  Metro MF Permits
Last 12 Months
Houston 18,441   New York 8,427
Dallas-Fort Worth 11,869   Dallas-Ft Worth 6,146
Washington 8,625   Houston 5,431
Phoenix 6,788   Los Angeles 4,275
Austin 6,603   Salt Lake City 3,315
New York City 5,772   Charlotte 3,221
Philadelphia 5,501   Washington 2,894
Atlanta 5,310   Austin 2,799
San Antonio 5,219   Seattle 2,752
Seattle 4,552   Tampa 2,379
Riverside 4,247   Boston 2,289
Chicago 4,190   Las Vegas 2,238
St. Louis 3,877   Chicago 2,160
Charlotte 3,822   Miami 1,934
Tampa 3,789   Riverside 1,814
Raleigh 3,522   San Francisco 1,797
Nashville 3,428   Virginia Beach 1,696
Orlando 3,185   Philadelphia 1,449
Indianapolis 3,180   Indianapolis 1,423
Los Angeles 3,135   Jacksonville 1,386
Source: Census Bureau

Thirty-eight cities are now issuing more housing permits than they did at the peak of the housing boom in late 2005/early 2006.Many of these cities are very small markets. This should not be interpreted as a list of cities leading the housing market or the economy out of recession. These cities simply missed most of the recession as they did the previous housing boom. Except for New Orleans and El Paso the list includes only small and midsize cities. Fourteen of the twenty cities with the largest increase in permits since the peak of the housing boom are either on the Gulf Coast or in the Plains States. The gulf cities are getting a boost from Katrina rebuilding funds. The cities in the Plains States with resource based economies fared better during the housing recession than cities with economies dominated by manufacturing, construction or finance.

The twenty cities with the largest decline in housing permits from the peak of the housing boom more than three years ago are all paying back the overbuilding during the housing boom or the phantom sales of homes to households who overreached and could not carry their mortgage even before job losses began across the economy. Each of these cities is now beset with a relatively large surplus of homes for sales and, in most cities, continuing decline in home prices. Homebuilders in these cities are competing with a large selection of existing homes priced at or below the cost of constructing a new home.

Largest Increase in Permits from
Early 2006 National Housing Boom Peak
(3 month total)
  Largest Decrease in Permits from
Early 2006 National Housing Boom Peak
(3 month total)
Metro # of Permits   Metro # of Permits
El Paso, TX 332   Atlanta -15,088
Fargo, ND-MN 325   Phoenix -11,015
Hinesville-Fort Stewart, GA 261   New York -10,515
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island,  IA-IL 193   Chicago -10,059
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX 163   Riverside -9,689
Jacksonville, NC 148   Dallas -9,223
Dubuque, IA 137   Miami -8,380
Grand Forks, ND-MN 132   Houston -8,196
Lubbock, TX 125   Los Angeles -7,189
Bismarck, ND 120   Las Vegas -6,835
Cedar Rapids, IA 117   Cape Coral -6,114
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 113   Orlando -5,752
Lake Charles, LA 104   Tampa -5,631
Fort Smith, AR-OK 77   Washington -5,177
Rochester, NY 73   Austin -4,485
Auburn-Opelika, AL 56   Lakeland, FL -4,307
Jonesboro, AR 50   San Antonio -4,287
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ 48   Jacksonville, FL -4,237
Palm Coast, FL 41   Denver -4,188
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 38   Seattle -3,342
Source: Census Bureau

For more information, please see US Metro Housing Markets – November 2009 – Cities 1-100.

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by Jim Haughey

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