Over the first two months of 2021, the total number of single-family permits issued year-to-date (YTD) nationwide reached 164,901. On a year-over-year (YoY) basis, this is a 16.6% increase over the February 2020 level of 141,467.
Year-to-date ending in February, single-family permits showed increases in all four regions. The relatively more affordable Midwest reported the strongest increase of 24.0%, followed by the Northeast (+20.1%), the South (+16.2%), and the West (13.6%). Multifamily permits were robust across the country in February compared to last year; the West (+22.0%), South (+18.4%), Northeast (+17.5%) and the Midwest a modest 5.4% increase.
Between February 2020 YTD and February 2021 YTD, 44 states and the District of Columbia saw growth in single-family permits issued, while six states registered a decline. The District Of Columbia recorded the highest growth rate during this time at 308.3% from 12 to 49, while single-family permits in Vermont declined by 17.7%, from 124 in 2020 to 102 in 2021. The 10 states issuing the highest number of single-family permits combined accounted for 63.8% of the total single-family permits issued.
In February, Central (Ohio Valley) and the Southern regions of the country had record levels of snowstorms. Between February 13-20th, 13 states in these two regions were affected by category 2 or 3 snowstorms according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. The Regional Snowfall Index (RSI) shows that the following states were affected during this time:
13. West Virginia
Despite the record-breaking snowstorms in these 13 states last month, single-family permits were 15.7% higher for this set of states compared February 2020. This was only marginally less than the year-over-year growth rate for all other states (+16.9%). Consequently, weather effects were not the only reason for declines in home building in February.
Year-to-date, ending in February 2021, the total number of multifamily permits issued nationwide reached 83,110. This is 17.7% ahead over the February 2020 level of 70,635.
Between February 2020 YTD and February 2021 YTD, 36 states and the District of Columbia recorded growth while 14 states recorded a decline in multifamily permits. New Mexico led the way with a sharp rise (714.3%) in multifamily permits from 42 to 342, while Nebraska had the largest decline of 66.9% from 516 to 171. The 10 states issuing the highest number of multifamily permits combined accounted for 66.4% of the multifamily permits issued.
At the local level, below are top 10 metro areas that issued the highest number of single-family permits.
For multifamily permits, below are the top 10 local areas that issued the highest number of permits. It is telling that New York City and Austin are the two largest multifamily building markets at the start of the year, an indication of reopening in the largest metros and gains for growing cities as economic activity shifts geographically.