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Midwest Shows Permit Gains


Midwest Shows Permit Gains

Building permits nationwide were issued at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.621 million units during June, a 1.9% increase over the month and 5.9% above the total for June 1998.

By Daryl Delano, Cahners Economics August 31, 1999
This article first appeared in the PB September 1999 issue of Pro Builder.
Building permits nationwide were issued at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.621 million units during June, a 1.9% increase over the month and 5.9% above the total for June 1998. Through the first half of this year, permits grew by a 7.3% annualized rate--slightly better than the 6.6% increase in total starts.

New Residential Building Permits by Region
(Preliminary Year-to-date through June 1999)
  # of Units % Change Permitted
Compared to Year-to-date Year Ago
TOTAL U.S. 832,833 7.3%
NORTHEAST 80,514 11.0%
New England 23,245 2.9%
Middle Atlantic 57,269 14.7%
MIDWEST 163,558 7.5%
East North Central 114,285 7.9%
West North Central 49,273 6.7%
SOUTH 384,836 8.0%
South Atlantic 241,725 14.6%
East South Central 46,123 1.5%
West South Central 96,988 -2.9%
WEST 203,925 4.3%
Rocky Mountain 98,719 0.3%
Pacific Coast 105,206 8.3%
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce; Professional Builder
Among the four regional quadrants of the country, the South--while still healthy--has lost some vigor in recent months, while the Midwest has come on strong. Total permits issued in the Midwest states through the first six months of 1999 were 7.5% greater than during January-June 1998, with solid gains being recorded by almost all states in the region. Growth in the South, on the other hand, has not been as broadly based. Permit totals in the West South Central sub-region are 2.9% lower so far in 1999 than over the same period last year, and permits have risen only a marginal 1.5% in the East South Central states. Thus, almost all of the South’s gain has come in the vast South Atlantic sub-region where the 14.6% over-the-year gain is the second-best among the nine regions of the nation.

The biggest surprise of the year--at least from the perspective of recent historical experience--continues to be the presence of very strong permit growth in the long-languishing Middle Atlantic region, and the near absence of growth in the Rocky Mountain region. The Middle Atlantic sub-region registered a gain of 14.7%, slightly better than the South Atlantic.


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