St Louis Area New Home Construction In Past 12 Months At Same Pace As Prior 12 Overall; St Charles County Down Nearly 20 Percent Though

As the table below shows, for the most recent 12-months that new home building permit data is available for from the Home Builders Association of St Louis & Eastern Missouri, there have been 4,610 new home building permits issued in the 7 counties they report on.  This is just slightly less than was issued for the prior 12-month period ending April 2017, when there were 4,625 permits issued.

St Charles County New Home Building Permit Trend Continues to Fall…

There were 1,555 new home permits issued in St Charles County in the most recent 12-month period, a decline of 18.54% from the prior 12-month period.  Year to date through April, there have been 447 new home building permits issued in St Charles County, a decline of 27% from the same time last year and a 35.2% decline from the same time in 2016.

St Charles County housing market doesn’t appear to be the problem

The overall real estate market in St Charles County is doing pretty well with 6,013 homes sold during the 12-month period ended April 30, 2018.  That is a 2.5% decline from the prior 12 month period but still shows the demand is there meaning that decline in new home building permits is most likely not market driven but perhaps more related to lack of available ground.

  

New Home Construction Activity Up Slightly In St Louis Area – St Charles County Losing Steam

New home construction, based upon building permits issued, is up overall for the 7-county area covered in St Louis by the Home Builders Association of St Louis and Eastern Missouri (HBA). For the most recent 12-month period reported for this area, through the end of February 2018, there have been 4,720 single family permits issue versus 4,579 for the prior 12-month period, an increase of 3.08%.

As the table below shows, 5 of the 7 counties reported on by the HBA have seen double-digit increases in new home construction during the past 12-months, Lincoln County and St Charles County being the exceptions.  St Charles County has suffered the most, with a double-digit decrease in home sales.  The St Charles decline is likely at least partially contributed to a lack of developed lots.

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New Home Building Permits – St Louis Area

New Home Building Permits - St Louis Area

St Louis Home Prices Increase 3.8 Percent In Past Year While Sales Increase About Half As Much

Home prices in the St Louis 5-County core market increased 3.67 percent in the 12-month period ending February 28, 2018 to a median price of $186,500 from $179,900 for the prior 12-month period.  During the same period, home sales in the St Louis 5-County core market increased 1.89% to 27,839 homes sold from 27,323 homes sold during the prior 12-month period.

As our table below shows, there were 1,489 homes sold during February 2018, and are currenlty 4,921 homes listed for sale, computing into a 3.3 month supply of homes for sale, continuing to favor sellers due to the low supply.  A supply of around 6 months would normally result in a balanced market not favoring sellers or buyers, the likes of which we have not seen in some time.

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St Louis 5-County Core Market* Home Sales And Prices

(click the table below to be taken to current, complete report)St Louis Home Prices and Sales

*  St Louis City and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin

New Home Construction In St Louis Area Trending Upward In Most Areas – St Charles County Sees Decline

New home construction in the St Louis area is off to a good start for 2018 with a total of 326 building permits for new homes being issued during January for the 7-county St Louis area reported on by the Home Builders Association of Eastern Missouri.  This permit activity in January represents an 11% increase over the activity in January 2017 when there were 293 new home permits issued.  During the month of January 2018, 4 of 7 counties saw an increase in building permits from January 2017 (Jefferson County +26%, Franklin County +143%, Warren County +1%, St Louis City +371%) while the remaining 3 saw declines (St Louis County -25%, St Charles County -10%, Lincoln County -29%).

It takes more than a month for a trend…

Just like I often comment with regard to home prices and sales, looking at a single month of activity really does not paint the whole picture and, while it may be a good “leading-indicator” of where things are headed, it’s not going to accurately depict a trend.  For this, I believe looking at the past 12-month period and comparing it to the prior 12-month period is more accurate.  It takes into account the seasonal fluctuations that occur and adjust for unseasonal weather during a given month that could skew the data if just looking at a one-month period.  The table belows the total building permits for the 12-month period ending January 31, 2018 and comparies that activity to the prior 12-month period for each of the 7-counties reported on.   As you can see, five of the counties have a double-digit increase in new home building permits issued from the prior 12-month period while St Charles County shows a double-digit decline, and Lincoln County a slight decline.

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New Home Building Permits- St Louis Area – January 2018

New Home Building Permits- St Louis Area - January 2018

New Home Construction On The Rise In Warren County And Other Outlying Counties

New home construction in the St Louis and surrounding areas for the first three quarters of this year is up slightly from the same time last year, according to the latest permit data from the Home Builders Association of Greater St Louis.  However, as the table below shows, only 4 of the 7 counties reviewed had an increase in building permits while the other three, including the county with the greatest number of building permits, St Charles County, saw a decline.

 

St Louis Area New Home Building Permits – Year to Date Through September 30, 2017

St Louis Area New Home Building Permits - Year to Date Through September 30, 2017

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Characteristics of New Homes Sold In 2016

The U.S. Department of Commerce just released it’s 2016 CHARACTERISTICS OF NEW HOUSING in which it revealed features, amenities, prices, sizes, etc of new homes built and sold during 2016 in the United States.  You can see all the data in the complete report for the U.S. by clicking on the link however I’m going to just focus on the homes built here in the midwest region.

There were 69,000 new homes sold (single-family) here in the Midwest Region of the United States, down from a peak of 205,000 in 2005.  Eleven percent of the single-family homes sold were attached homes (8,000) and the remaining eighty-nine-percent (62,000) were detached homes, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Facts and Figures For New Homes Sold In The Midwest during 2016:

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2016 Characteristics of New Housing – Complete Report
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Midwest Home Builders Optimism About New Home Market Hits Record High in March

Happy home builders?  Wow, I remember those days, back before the real estate bubble and market collapse, boy were those the days!  Well, the good news is, while builders still have their challenges, according to the latest Housing Market Index (HMI) from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builders in the Midwest are more optimistic about the new home market than they have ever been! (or, at least since the beginning of the regional level index records that are published).

The NAHB Housing Market Index is based upon results of a survey done of the builders and other members of the National Association of Home Builders in which members are asked to rate market conditions in 3 ways:

  1. The sale of new homes at the present time
  2. How they feel about selling new homes over the coming six months
  3. The traffic of prospective buyers through their new home displays and developments.

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New Homes For Sale (or sold in past 12 Months) Throughout St Louis Area – Interactive Map

Midwest Region Of U.S. Has Greatest Increase In Home Sales In August From Year Ago

St Louis New HomesNew home sales in the midwest region of the U.S. during August 2016, increased 39.7 percent to a seasonally-adjusted, annual rate, of 81,000 new homes from a rate of 58,000 homes a year ago.

Nationally, new home sales during August were at a seasonally-adjusted, annual rate, of 609,000 homes, an increase of 20.6 percent from a year ago.  The midwest region saw the greatest gains in new home sales during the period with the west region coming in second with a 35% increase from a year ago, then the south region with a 15.0% increase.  The northeast region saw a 25.8% decrease in new home sales from a year ago.

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New Home Construction In Midwest Jumps In August From Year Ago-Bucks National Trend

St Louis New HomesNew home construction in August increased in the midwest region of the U.S. by 10.5 percent from a year ago to a seasonally-adjusted, annual rate of 116,000 homes.  August new home construction activity in the midwest was up 6.4 percent from the month before as well when homes were constructed at a rate of 109,000 homes per year.  This  according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In terms of actual (as opposed to seasonally-adjusted annual rates) new home starts, year to date there have been 80,000 new homes started, an increase of 13.6% from the same time last year when there were 70,400 new homes started.

On a national level, in August 2016, construction was started on new homes at a seasonally-adjusted, annual, rate of  722,000 homes, a decline of 6.0 percent from the month before and a decline of 1.2 percent from August 2015 when homes were started at an annual rate of 731,000 homes.

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New Home Construction In The Midwest Slows In July But Still Up YTD From Last Year

St Louis New HomesNew home construction in the midwest region of the U.S.  occurred at a, seasonally-adjusted, annual rate of 112,000 homes in July, down 2.6% from the month before and down 6.7% from July 2015 when the rate of new home starts in the midwest was at 115,000 homes, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce.  In terms of actual (as opposed to seasonally-adjusted annual rates) new home starts, year to date there have been 69,100 new homes started, an increase of 15% from the same time last year when there were 60,000 new homes started.

On a national level, in July 2016, construction was started on new homes at a seasonally-adjusted, annual, rate of  770,000 homes, the highest rate since February 2016 when it was 845,000, just about the same rate as in June and up 1.3% from July 2015 when the rate was 760,000 homes.

 

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New Home Sales In Midwest Soar In June Increasing 44 Percent From Year Ago

St Louis New HomesNew home sales in the midwest region of the U.S. , like the temperature during the period, soared in June 2016 to a seasonally-adjusted, annual rate, of 85,000 new homes, an  increase of 44.1 percent from June 2015 when new homes in the midwest sold at an annual rate of 59,000 homes, according to a report just released by the US Census Bureau.

Last month, new homes were sold in the Midwest at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 85,000 new homes, and an increase of 10.4% from the month before when new homes sold in the midwest at a rate of 77,000 homes.

On a national level, new homes sales last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 homes, an increase of 3.5% from the month before and an increase of 25.4% from a year ago.  Nationally, there is a 4.9 month supply of new homes, down slightly from 5.1 months in May and from 5.5 months a year ago.

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Past 5 Years Increase In Regulatory Costs Associated with New Homes Nearly Five Times Higher Than Increase In CPI

The median price of a new home in the U.S. in 2011 was $227,200 and this year, thus far, the median price is $288,000, an increase of 26.7 percent in that five-year period, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  During this same period, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), as the chart below illustrates, rose just 6.1%.  So why did the median price of new homes during this period rise over 4 times as much as the rate of inflation?

What is driving new home prices up?

The two major components to the cost of a new home are construction cost and finished lot cost.  Presently, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 61.8% of the price of a new home is construction cost and 18.2% is attributable to the cost of a finished lot.   Both of these costs, which account for about 80% of the cost of a new home, have been severely impacted by costs associated with every increasing government regulations.  In fact, as the chart below shows, regulatory costs for a new home increased almost 30 percent (29.8%) from 2011 to 2016 while, as I mentioned previously, CPI only increased 6.1%.

What about builder profit margins, are they to blame for higher prices?

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New Home Sales In Midwest Rise Over Ten Percent In March From Year Ago

New home sales in the midwest region of the U.S. during March rose 10.3 percent from March 2015, according to a report just released by the US Census Bureau.  In March 2016, new homes were sold in the Midwest at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 64,000 new homes, an increase of 18.5 percent from February, when the rate was 54,000 homes and a 10.3 percent increase from March 2015 when the rate of new home sales in the midwest was 58,000 homes annually.

 

On a national level, new homes sales in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 511,000 homes, down 1.5% from February and up just 5.4% from a year ago.

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HUD Issues Directive Warning Refusing To Rent Based Upon Tenants Criminal History May Be Discrimination

Earlier this month, General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance on the “Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transaction“.  This guidance has caused concern among many landlords as many, in an effort to assure safe housing for their tenants, do criminal background checks on prospective tenants and have a policies against renting to applicants with a criminal background, a practice that, according to this guidance, may very well be considered to be discriminatory now.

Do landlord have to rent all all convicted felons?

While the guidance does not appear to remove a landlord’s ability to establish some restrictions on who they rent to with regard to prior convictions, however does say:

“But housing providers that apply a policy or practice that excludes persons with prior convictions must still be able to prove that such policy or practice is necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest.”

The guidance goes on to make it clear that a blanket prohibition against any person with any conviction, is not going to fly:

“A housing provider that imposes a blanket prohibition on any person with any conviction record – no matter when the conviction occurred, what the underlying conduct entailed, or what the convicted person has done since then – will be unable to meet this burden.”

So, as is often the case, there is a lot of gray area here.  Below I have the entire guidance letter which goes into much more detail.


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New Home Construction In Midwest During March Increases Over 40 Percent From Year Ago

New home construction in the midwest region of the U.S. continued strong in March with home builders beginning construction on new homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 123,000 home, a 41.4% increase from March 2015 when the new home start rate was 87,000 homes.  March’s rate was a decline of 21.2 from February when an increase of nearly 90 percent from the year before sent the annual rate to 153,000 homes.

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New Home Construction In Midwest In February Up Nearly 89 Percent From Year Ago

Home builders began construction on new homes in the Midwest region of the U.S. in February at a pace of 153,000 new homes annually, an 88.9% increase from February 2015 when new home starts in the midwest was at an annual rate of 81,000 homes.  February’s spike in new home construction was an 18.6% increase from January’s annual rate of 129,000 homes.

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New Home Sales In Midwest Decline In November

New home sales in the U.S. in November rose 9.1 percent from a year ago, and increased 4.3 percent from the month before, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  In the midwest region however, new home sales slid in November, falling 8.6% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 53,000 homes from 58,000 the month before and decreasing 10.2 percent from November 2014 when new home sales in the midwest were at an annual rate of 59,000 homes.

 

 

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Builders See Green in Building Green

Dodge Data & Analytics just released a report on “Green and Healthier Homes” in which it was revealed that many builders are seeing building green as a way to increase business and new home sales.  In fact, according to the report, 83 percent of homebuilders and remodelers believe consumers are willing to pay more for a healthier home.    This shows quite a change over the past decade as around 2005 I was developing quite a few residential properties and looked into the idea of adding some “green” features to some developments.  This led me to Denver to tour many green loft projects and to return to St Louis all fired up on going green on a loft development I was planning.  The problem is, as I dug into it and began researching the market and getting feedback on pricing, I found that while a high percentage of buyers said they would like to have the features, almost no one, said they were willing to pay anything extra to get it, much less the 5% or so we were projecting it would cost.  Changing times I guess…

Highlights from the report:

  • Nearly one third of home builders (31%) report that they are currently doing more than 60% of their projects green, and over half (51%) expect to be doing that level of green work by 2020.
  • Over three quarters (77%) of builders report that building green costs 5% or more than the cost to build a standard home, and an even high percentage of remodelers (83%) agree.

 

New Home Sales In Midwest Declines For Second Consecutive Month

New home sales in the U.S. in September lost some steam declining 11.5 percent from August, however, let’s not forget, August was a record month for U.S. New Home Sales which sold at the highest annual rate since February of 2008, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  New homes sold in September at a seasonally-adjusted, annual-rate, of 468,000 homes, a decrease of  11.5 percent from the month before an an increase of 2.0 percent from September 2014 when new homes sold at an annual rate of 459,000 homes.

Midwest New Home Sales Fall For Second Month in a Row..

Here in the midwest region, new homes sold in September at a seasonally-adjusted, annual-rate, of 55,000 homes, a decline of 8.3 percent from August and also a decline 8.3 percent from September 2014 when new homes sold in the Midwest region at a rate of 60,000 homes per year.

The new home supply in the United States increased in September 18.4 percent to 5.8 months from a 4.9 month supply the month before and increased 5.5 percent from September 2014 when there was a 5.5 month supply.

New home prices rose 2.6% in September to a median price of $296,900 from $289,100 the month before and is 13.5% higher than a year ago when the median price of new homes sold in the U.S. was $261,500.

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New Home Sales In U.S. Hit 7 Year High In August-Sales Slip In Midwest

New home sales in the U.S. in August sold at the highest annual rate since February of 2008, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  New homes sold in August at a seasonally-adjusted, annual-rate, of 552,000 homes, an increase of  5.7 percent from the month before an an increase of 21.6 percent from August 2014 when new homes sold at an annual rate of 454,000 homes.

Midwest New Home Sales Not Keeping Pace

Here in the midwest region, new homes sold in August at a seasonally-adjusted, annual-rate, of 60,000 homes, a decline of 9.1 percent from July but was an increase of 15.4 percent from August 2014 when new homes sold in the Midwest region at a rate of 52,000 homes per year.

The new home supply in the United States decreased in August 4.1 percent to 4.7 months from a 4.9 month supply the month before and declined 13.0 percent from Augsut 2014 when there was a 5.4 month supply.

New home prices remained about the same in August at a median price of $292,700 up slightly from $291,100 the month before and was $500 higher than a year ago when the median price of new homes sold in the U.S. was $291.700.

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New Home Construction In St Louis Slips In July Still Up For The Year

New home construction activity in St Louis during July showed mixed results around the St Louis area. For the five-county core St Louis market that I focus on (city of St. Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Franklin and Jefferson) permits issued for new homes during July slipped 2.7% to 322 from 331 the year before.  The decline was concentrated in just two counties however, albeit the two largest ones, St Louis and St Charles.  St Charles county saw permits fall to 142 for July, down almost 25 percent from July 2014 when there were 189 permits issued and St Louis county saw permits fall nearly 13 percent during the same period from 78 permits in July 2014 to 68 in July 2015.

On a year-to-date basis, the 5-county core St Louis market is up 11.2 percent from a year ago with 2,257 permits issued versus 2,030 as of the same time a year ago.

For the St Louis MSA, as the chart below shows, building permits issued for new homes in July was up 13.8% from a year ago.

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New Home Sales In the Midwest Decline In July But Prices Increase

New home sales in the midwest declined in July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 54,000 homes, a decline of 6.9 percent from the month before when sales were at a rate of 58,000 homes, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  The new home sales rate for the midwest in July 2015 was exactly the same as July 2014.

The new home supply in the United States decreased in July 1.9 percent to 5.2 months from a 5.3 month supply the month before and marks a decline of 14.8 percent from July 2014 when there was a 6.1 month supply.

New home prices increased 3 percent in July to a median price of $285,900 from $277,500 the month before and was 2 percent higher than a year ago when the median price of new homes sold in the U.S. was $280,400.

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New Home Sales Slip In June In The Midwest

New home sales in the midwest slipped in June to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 56,000 homes, a decline of 11.1 percent from the month before when sales were at a rate of 63,000 homes, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  Even though new home sales cooled off in June, the pace for June was still 5.7 percent higher than June 2014 when new home sales came in at a rate of 53,000 homes.

The new home supply in the midwest increased in June 12.5 percent to 5.4 months from a 4.8 month supply the month before, however this marks a decline of 6.9 percent from June 2014 when there was a 5.8 month supply.

New home prices increased slightly in June, from the month before, to a median price of $281,800 however were down 1.8% from June 2014 when the median new home price in the midwest was $287,000.

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New Home Construction In Midwest Slips In May After Spike in April

New Home Construction in the Midwest declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of return of 104,000 homes in May after hitting a rate of 123,000 homes in April.  April’s increase in activity brought the rate of new home construction to 23% above a year ago, but in May the rate fell to a point 1% below the same time last year, according to newly released date from the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Census Bureau.

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Building Permits Issued In St Louis MSA for Single-Family Homes

St Louis MSA New Home Building Permits Chart

Source: Federal Reserve – St Louis

Characteristics Of New Homes Built In 2014

There were 437,000 new homes sold (single-family) in the U.S. last year, down from a peak of 1,283,000 in 2005.  Roughly ten percent of the single-family homes sold were attached homes (44,000) and the remaining ninety-percent (393,000) were detached homes, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Facts and Figures For New Homes Sold In The Midwest During 2014:

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New Home Sales in Midwest During April Increase 20 Percent From Year Ago

New home sales here in the midwest region of the U.S. occurred in April at an adjusted annual rate of 78,000 homes, an increase of 36.8 percent from the month before when new home sales activity was at the rate of 57,000 homes per year and an increase of 20 percent from April 2014 when new homes were selling at the rate of 65,000 homes a year, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

New home inventory is down…

According to the report, in April 2015, there was a 4.8 month supply of new homes for sale in the U.S., a decline of 5.9% from the month before and a decline of 14.3% from a year ago when there was a 5.6 month supply.

New home sales prices increased over 8%…

The median price of new homes sold in the U.S. during April 2015 was $297,300, an increase of 8.3% from a year ago when the median price was $274,500.

 

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New Home Construction In Midwest Surges in April

New Home Construction in the Midwest really heated up during the month of may with construction beginning during the month on new single-family homes a the annual rate of 126,000 homes, an increase of 43.2% from March and an increase of 15.6% from April 2014, according to newly released date from the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Census Bureau.  During the month of April, new homes were completed at the annual rate of 128,000 homes, an increase of 50.6% from March and an increase of 28.0% from a year ago.  Building permits issued for new homes did not keep pace with new construction and were issued at the annual rate of 100,000 homes which is still an increase of 1% from the month before and an increase of 5.3% from April 2014.

National Association of Home Builders Chairman, Tom Woods, a builder from right here in Missouri (Blue Springs) said “Our builders tell us that consumers are slowly returning to the market” and added, “This month’s report shows release of pent-up demand and evidence of a sustainable housing recovery.”

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New Home Construction In Midwest Shows Mixed Results in March

New Home Construction in the Midwest showed mixed results in March with a small increase from a year ago in the number of building permits issued but a decline in the number of new homes construction began on or was completed on, according to data released this week by the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Census Bureau.

New home construction activity in the midwest region of the U.S. in March (all figures shown are seasonally adjusted, annual rates)

New Home Construction In St Louis Losing Steam

New home construction in St Louis has begun 2015 with a slower start than one might expect given the spring-like weather St Louis experienced during much of January and the flurry of activity we have seen thus far this year from home buyers.  Permits issued in January for new homes in the St Louis Metro Area were down 7.85 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis.  As the chart below illustrates, for the bulk of last year, the number of permits issued during the month was down from a year ago.

Percentage Change From Year Ago In Building Permits Issued In St Louis MSA for Single-Family Homes

St Louis New Home Building Permits Change From Year ago

Source: Federal Reserve – St Louis

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Home Building In The Midwest Begins 2015 With a Bang

While the number of building permits issued for new single family homes during January 2015 in the Midwest was down 4.8 percent from January 2014, builders were busy starting construction on new homes  at a pace that was 73.6 percent higher than the year before, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Other highlights from the report for January 2015 for the midwest region of the U.S.:

  • Permits for new single family homes were issued at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 99,000 units, down 2.0% from December and down 4.8% from January 2014.
  • Construction commenced on new homes at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of  92,000 units, a decrease of 30.8% from December but an increase of 73.6% from January 2014.
  • New homes in the Midwest were completed in January at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of  103,000 homes, down 2.8% from the month before and down 12.0% from a year ago.


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