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Home Construction Takes Off In (Some) US Cities

By Mike Wheatley | November 29, 2011
  • Good news for struggling property developers at long last – it seems as if the decline in housing starts is finally beginning to level off in many parts of the country, while in a few places, the number of developers breaking ground is actually starting to rise, according to a report in US News.

    US construction activity
    New construction activity is finally starting to pick up in some US cities. © christian42 - Fotolia.com

    Housing starts and construction permits for the most part remain well off the level they were at during the early 2000s housing boom, but in many areas that only experienced a mild decline in their housing markets, construction activity appears to be building up some steam. Cities such as Dallas, Houston and San Antonio for example, are approaching what is considered a normal level of construction permit activity.

    Stan Humphries, chief economist with Zillow, told US News that many cities which only saw a slight slump in housing are recovering because they had less ground to make up than cities which were harder hit:

    “You’re going to start to see is construction activity pick up in parts of the country where, although we have an excess supply of homes nationally, we don't in that location. The fact that we have vacant inventory is a national phenomenon, (but) we don't have vacant inventory in certain markets, which means new construction is going to pick up in some of these markets.”

    The following data, courtesy of Trulia, ranks the top ten metro areas in the US according to construction activity over the 3rd quarter:

    Metro Area New Units Permitted Per 1,000 Existing Units Multifamily Share Of New Permitted Units
    Houston, TX

    3.68

    27%

    Dallas, TX

    3.41

    55%

    Raleigh, N.C.

    3.04

    5%

    Omaha, NE

    2.96

    39%

    Austin, TX

    2.81

    20%

    Salt Lake City, UT

    2.64

    32%

    Charleston, S.C.

    2.59

    8%

    Charlotte, N.C.

    2.53

    23%

    San Antonio, TX

    2.51

    46%

    Tacoma, WA

    2.42

    47%

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