Exurbs Lead Apartment Construction Gains in the Second Quarter


The second quarter of 2019’s recent permit data shed new light on NAHB’s Home Building Geography Index (HBGI), not only in manufacturing, which is its newest cut, but also in its first vein of analysis, a population density-based delineation of all the counties in the U.S., known as regions.

New permits for multifamily dwellings have historically been the highest in large metro core county areas, with the second and third largest regions being large metro suburban counties and small metro core counties, respectively. The latest quarter for which data are available, the second quarter of 2019, is no exception to this trend. In the latest quarter, though, multifamily residential construction’s growth rates have increased in small metro areas and decelerated and turned negative in all areas of large metropolitan areas, except for exurbs, i.e., outlying counties of large metropolitan areas.

Core and outlying counties of small metro areas showed growth in multifamily residential construction in the second quarter of 2019 of 7.4% and 8.6%, respectively. Exurbs posted growth of 15.5%, which made them the fastest growing region of permit activity by the end of the first half of the year. Compared to this time last year, though, exurbs posted a decline of 17.4%.

In contrast, suburbs of large metropolitan areas experienced the greatest contraction among the seven regions, posting a decline of 6.8% (as shown in the below figure).

Compared to this time last year, apartment construction in suburbs of large metro areas showed a decline of 12.6%.

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