Metro Detroit Home Permits Rise as Building Material Prices Fall

Based on residential permit data from the Home Builder Association of Southeastern Michigan (HBA) in Bingham Farms and reported in the HBA/Carter Lumber Southeastern Michigan Residential Building Activity Report, a total of 304 single-family home permits were issued in October 2021 in the region.
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Single Family New Construction Home in Suburb Neighborhood in the South
The HBA of Southeastern Michigan reported 300+ single-family home permits were issued for the 17th straight month. // Stock Photo

Based on residential permit data from the Home Builder Association of Southeastern Michigan (HBA) in Bingham Farms and reported in the HBA/Carter Lumber Southeastern Michigan Residential Building Activity Report, a total of 304 single-family home permits were issued in October 2021 in the region.

The pace extends the streak of months above 300 permits in Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties to 17 — the longest such streak since November 2006. Multi-family permits added another 94, bringing the year-to-date total to 1,974, the best first 10 months since 1998.

“As we’ve been tracking for several months now, the national trend of sustained single and multi-family home construction in the face of supply chain challenges is also evident here in southeastern Michigan,” says Michael Stoskopf, CEO of HBA.

“Based on conversations with builders, one reason for the sustained permit activity is that permits that may have normally been pulled during the summer were delayed in order to take advantage of expected downward trends in lumber and other material costs that were prohibitive just a few months ago.”

The economic factors the HBA uses to predict permits continued to show mixed results. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) data for September (DOL data is delayed by one month) on the number of people employed dropped by nearly a whole percent to 1,848,856, even with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ending.

The available workforce, however, increased slightly to 1,938,021 people from last August, but remains more than 4 percent below the trailing 12-month pre-pandemic average of 2,020,000. These numbers represent a 0.2 percent month-over-month growth and 2.7 percent year-over-year drop.

North American vehicle production tells different stories month-over-month and year-over-year. It is up nearly 21 percent since last month, while still being down close to 23 percent from last October.

Crude oil prices jumped more than 13 percent ($70.56/barrel) from September’s closing price and are 78 percent higher than October 2020. The values of new single-family homes and single-family permits are both up from last October — 8.2 percent and 6.7 percent respectively — but not more than 10 percent, which may indicate the beginning of a plateau.

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