New residential construction begins with building permits. Overall U.S. housing starts are approximately 2.5% less than permits issued (22.5% less for multi-family units). Completions are approximately 4% less than starts (7.5% less for multi-family units). During the past year-plus, “residential fixed investment” has been approximately $500 billion and remained steady at 3.1% of real Gross Domestic Product. Our focus here is on data and tools to analyze new authorized residential construction activity by metro — how might changing patterns affect you — in your metros of interest? Where are areas of highest growth by type of units in structure? What is the value of new construction; how is it trending in selected metros? See related Web section for more detail and interactive data access.
Visual Analysis of New Residential Construction by Metro
This view shows the November 2014 total building permits per 1,000 housing units (2013 estimate) by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
View created with CV XE GIS. Click graphic for larger view.
Building permit data (housing units authorized by building permits for new residential construction) are economic leading indicators. Investors and housing developers use these data to examine the characteristics and trends in new residential housing development. Finance and real estate professional and researchers examine building permit patterns to develop strategic insights. Government and policy makers use these data to get a pulse on markets and changing patterns to administer programs and operations. Important strengths of building permits data include very recent/current data. There is a very short time lag between the data accessibility and the reference date (November building permit data are available in December). Geographic coverage and granularity are also strengths with national scope coverage by state, metro, county and city. Seemore about these data below in this section.
Accessing & Using New Authorized Residential Construction Data
Monthly building permits data are part of the Situation & Outlook (S&O) database and information system. Access/analyze these data in context of related geographic, demographic, economic and business data. This section provides no fee access to these data via interactive table, downloadable data and GIS project. Find upcoming release dates using the Calendar and related Find Event tool.
Interactive Data Analysis
Use the interactive table to view, query, rank, compare building permit data by metropolitan area. Data are provided in the interactive table by month for January 2014 forward. Earlier data are not available for the current vintage metropolitan areas.
The following graphic illustrates use of the table. The Year/Month May 2014 is selected. Metros are then ranked in descending order on Total Units. The Houston metro (blue highlighted) had the largest number of new authorized units (5,081) among all MSAs in May 2014. Select other measures of interest to rank/compare metros.
Metropolitan Area New Residential Construction GIS Project
Use the U.S. by Metropolitan Area New Authorized Residential Construction GIS project to create thematic pattern views similar to the one shown above. Zoom-in to any metro/region. Add your own data; change colors, labeling, subject matter used for pattern analysis. See details in this related Web section.
New Residential Construction Data in Metro Profiles
Building permit data are updated monthly and are a part of the S&O MetroDynamics Database and Information System. View the MetroDynamics Metro Profiles that show building permits data contextually with other geographic, demographic, economic and business data. Click a metro link in column 2 of the metro interactive table to view a Metro Profile for a metro of interest. The building permits section is populated only for Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Examples: Houston … Los Angeles … San Francisco … Atlanta.
More About These Data
See additional information about these data and their use.
About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for innovative data access and use operations. He is also the former associate director of the U.S. Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards for data access and use. By academic background an econometrician, he has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector developing data resources and tools for integration and analysis of geographic, demographic, economic and business data.