Single-Family Permits End On A Strong Note In 2020


For 2020, the total number of single-family permits issued year-to-date (YTD) reached 977,863 nationwide. On a year-over-year (YoY) basis, this is a 14.5% increase over the December 2019 level of 854,158.

Year-to-date ending in December, single-family permits reported increases in all four regions. The South reported the strongest increase by 16.9%, followed by the Midwest (+13.1%), the Northeast (+11.6%), and the West (10.5%). However, multifamily permits continued to underperform compared to December 2019, recording declines in all four regions. The Northeast region had the steepest decline in multifamily (-11.1%), followed by the South (-9.2%), West (-8.2%), and the Midwest (-1.2%).

Between December 2019 YTD and December 2020 YTD, 45 states saw growth in single-family permits issued while five states and the District of Columbia registered a decline. Vermont recorded the highest growth rate during this time at 45.7% from 882 to 1,285, while single-family permits in the District of Columbia declined by 17.3%, from 168 in 2019 to 139 in 2020. The 10 states issuing the highest number of single-family permits combined accounted for 61.5% of the total single-family permits issued.

Year-to-date, ending in December 2020, the total number of multifamily permits issued nationwide reached 473,716. This is 8.2% lower than its level over the year 2019, 516,189.

Between December 2019 YTD and December 2020 YTD, 16 states and the District of Columbia recorded growth while 34 states recorded a decline in multifamily permits. South Dakota led the way with a sharp rise (124.2%) in multifamily permits from 1,267 to 2,841, while Kentucky had the largest decline of 51.9% from 4,881 to 2,348. The 10 states issuing the highest number of multifamily permits combined accounted for 63.0% of the multifamily permits issued.

At the local level, below are top 10 metro areas that issued the highest number of single-family permits.

Metropolitan Statistical Area Single-family Permits: Dec (Units #YTD, NSA)
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX                                                                           48,208
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX                                                                           43,884
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ                                                                           31,724
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA                                                                         28,057
Austin-Round Rock, TX                                                                           21,653
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC                                                                           17,807
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL                                                                           16,028
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL                                                                         15,523
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN                                                                           14,125
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV                                                                         13,594

For multifamily permits, below are the top 10 local areas that issued the highest number of permits:

Metropolitan Statistical Area  Multifamily Permits: Dec (Units #YTD, NSA)
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA                                                                       42,739
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX                                                                         20,207
Austin-Round Rock, TX                                                                         19,222
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA                                                                         17,494
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX                                                                       16,178
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ                                                                         14,894
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA                                                                         14,752
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL                                                                         14,034
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI                                                                       11,515
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN                                                                         11,404


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