Report: March Metro Detroit Home Permits at Highest Level Since 2018

Metro Detroit single-family home permits were at their highest levels in March since 2018, when 497 permits were issued, the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan reported.
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home under construction
March metro Detroit single-family home permits hit their highest levels since March 2018. // Stock photo

Metro Detroit single-family home permits were at their highest levels in March since 2018, when 497 permits were issued, the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan reported.

A total of 470 permits were issued in Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties, 38 percent more than the revised total for February 2021, when 340 permits were issued, and 54 percent more than March 2020, when 305 permits were issued.

“Due to the nearly total shutdown of residential construction activity from mid-March to mid-May 2020, it is important to compare monthly performance to 2019 and earlier,” says Michael Stoskopf, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan in Bingham Farms. “Doing so gives a clearer picture as to the relative level of activity absent a mandated, albeit temporary, cessation of construction.”

At 215 permits, Macomb County had its best March since 2006, when 238 were issued. Wayne County’s 88 permits were the best since 2017 when 111 were issued, and Oakland County’s 153 permits were the best since March 2018 when 233 were issued.

Construction material pricing escalation continues to be a concern.

“Led by softwood lumber, the largest single cost in the vertical phase of residential construction, new home permit values are escalating at a rate that is adversely impacting new home affordability,” Stoskopf says. “Combined with the increase of manufacturing and delivery costs across the construction supply chain, due to crude oil prices now being at their highest level since June 2019, our econometric model is currently forecasting a shorter than normal level of peak permit activity through the summer months.”

The average single family home sale price was $262,824, a 7 percent increase from the month before and a 13.9 percent increase from the year before. The average new single-family permit value was $329,821, an 11.3 percent increase from the month before and a 29.9 percent increase from the previous year.

Crude oil price per barrel increased 15.5 percent from February 2021 and 14.3 percent from March 2020 to $61.49. North American vehicle production increased 17.7 percent month-over-month to 1,326,246 units, a 25.5 percent increase year-over-year.

The number of people employed was 1,765,706, a 1.4 percent decrease from February 2021 and an 8.4 percent decrease from the previous year. The workforce has decreased 2.5 percent from the previous month and 7.8 percent from the previous year to 1,845,676.

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