Report: Fewer Single-family Home Permits Issued in Region Than Expected in August

A total of 368 single-family home permits were issued in Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties in August 2019, according to the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan. This is lower than predicted and nearly the same month-over-month.
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Fewer single-family home building permits were issued in metro Detroit than expected, while multi-family housing continues to boom. // Stock photo

A total of 368 single-family home permits were issued in Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties in August 2019, according to the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan. This is lower than predicted and nearly the same month-over-month.

Usually August sees an increase in the number of permits over July as families strive to get in a new home prior to the start of a new school year.

The average value of permits issued so far in 2019 is $295,154, which is up nearly 6 percent over 2018, when the average was $279,735. For August, the average price increased 5.4 percent from July and 21.1 percent year-over-year to $289,046.

“In a year where new single-family permits have under-performed expectations based on our econometric model, August continued a trend of coming in well below our forecast,” says Michael Stoskopf, CEO of the association.

“A typical August would have seen a healthy uptick in permits when compared to July. This year saw August come in at essentially the same level as July (revised to 371 from 360) when we were expecting – based on our model’s calculations – a total of 519 new SFH permits.”

Continuing a trend from last month, multi-family housing across Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties continued its resurgence, far surpassing 2018 activity and running neck-and-neck with 2017, which was the best year since 1998. With 99 more permits in August, the 2019 year-to-date total of multi-family home permits is 1,485, up 82 percent over 2018.

Based on the average value of the multi-family home permits issued so far in 2019 ($142,276, up 11 percent over 2018), it appears that more upscale rental properties are being built to address new single-family home affordability challenges.

Positive economic factors include 30-year fixed mortgage rates at their lowest levels since September 2017.

The number of people employed stayed largely flat from the previous month and year with 1.2 percent and 1.7 percent increases, respectively, to 1,943,685. The workforce also stayed flat with 2 percent increases month-over-month and year-over-year to 2,053,190.

North American vehicle production increased 30.9 percent from July and decreased 5.3 percent from August 2018 to 1,470,967 vehicles.

Crude oil price per barrel stayed flat month-over-month with a 0.8 percent decrease and a 20.2 percent decrease year-over-year to $56.22.

The average single-family home sale price stayed flat month-over-month with an increase of 0.9 percent and increased by 7.5 percent year-over-year to $238,912.

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