New Home Building Permits In St Louis For Most Recent 12-Months Decline Nearly 9 Percent

There were 4,499 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2022, a decrease of 8.89% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,938 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Five of the seven counties covered in the report saw a decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago with three of the counties have a double digit decline.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -September 2022

New Home Building Permits In St Louis For Most Recent 12-Months Decline Over 8 PercentSt Louis New Home Building Permits -September 2022

 

Builders’ Housing Affordability Index Drops To Lowest Level Since Inception

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo, jointly publish quarterly their Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) which shows the affordability, or lack thereof, of homes to a typical family.  To arrive at an index value the median home price of recently sold homes for an area is taken into account as well as the median income for a family in that area.  From this data the index is computed to show how affordable the typical home is to a typical family.  The higher the index, the more affordable homes are to buyers in that market and the lower the index the less affordable.

For the 3rd quarter of 2022, the HOI index hit the lowest level (meaning homes were less affordable) since the inception of the HOI in 2012.  As the chart below shows, the current Housing Opportunity Index for the U.S. is at 42.2% meaning just over 40% of families can afford to buy a home in their area. This is down slightly from 2nd quarter but down quite a bit from the first quarter of this year when it was 56.9%.

Affordability in St Louis is much better…

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index is also produced for metro-areas.  For the third quarter of this year, St Louis had a HOI index of 74.8, over 30 points better than the national index!  This means a typical home in St Louis is affordable to about 30% more of St Louis families with a typical income than on the national level.

NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI)

(click on chart for current, live, interactive chart)

NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI)

 

Home Builder Sentiment Falls For 10th Month In A Row

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released their NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) report for October 2022 and, not surprisingly, it shows the builders are continuing to lose confidence in the market.  As our chart below shows, the Housing Market Index (HMI), the red line, peaked in November 2020 at 90 and has, with the exception of a few minor upticks along the way, fallen ever since reaching 38, the lowest level since August 2012 when it fell to 37.

  

Single Family Housing Starts and HMI Index 1985-2022 (NAHB)

Single Family Housing Starts and HMI Index 1985-2022 (NAHB)

St Louis New Home Activity Continues To Decline

There were 4,486* building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended August 31, 2022, a decrease of 8.93% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,926 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Six of the seven counties covered in the report saw a decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago with four of the counties haveing a double digit decline.  

*The city of St Louis did not report building permit data for August 2022.  Last year there were 54 permits issued in August, if we assume the same number for this year, the City of St Louis would of had an increase of 5.6% for the period, and the overall drop in building permits for the St Louis area would have been 7.8% rather than the 8.93% shown…


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -Aug  2022

St Louis New Home Building Permits -Aug  2022

 

New Home Building Permits In St Louis For Most Recent 12-Months Decline Over 8 Percent

There were 4,600 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended July 31, 2022, a decrease of 8.06% from the same period a year ago when there were 5,003 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Five of the seven counties covered in the report saw a decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago with three of the counties have a double digit decline.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -July  2022

St Louis New Home Building Permits -July  2022

 

Number Of New Homes Built In St Louis In Last 14 Years Less Than Half The Number For the Prior 14 Years

During the 14 year period prior to the housing bubble bursting in 2008, there were 92,065 building permits issued for new single family homes in the 3 most active home building counties in St Louis.  As the table shows below, over half the permits issued during that period were in St Charles County alone, with the other half in the counties of St Louis and Jefferson.

Needless to say, when the housing bubble burst in 2008 and the market collapsed, new home construction came to a screeching halt.  However, after about 5 years, the market quickly regained lost ground and for the past several years it seems home builders couldn’t build homes fast enough.  We’ve had a low inventory of homes for sale for so long it’s starting to seem normal.  But still, over 14 years have passed since the bubble burst and we are still way behind on new home construction.  In the 14-year period after the bubble burst, there have been 40.528 building permits issued for new single family homes in the St Louis area counties mentioned above, a decline of nearly 56% from the prior 14-year period.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -1994 through 2007 and 2008 through 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits -1994 through 2007 and 2008 through 2021

 

New Home Building Permits In St Louis For Most Recent 12-Months Decline Over 12 Percent

There were 4,516 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended June 30, 2022, a decrease of 12.05% from the same period a year ago when there were 5,135 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Five of the seven counties covered in the report saw a decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago with three of the counties have a double digit decline.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -June  2022

St Louis New Home Building Permits -June  2022

 

Supply of New Homes For Sale Reaches Highest Level In Over 12 Years

According to the latest data from HUD and the US Census Bureau, there is a 9.3 month supply of new homes for sale in the U.S. as of June, 2022.  As the chart below illustrates, this is the largest supply of new homes for sale since May 2010 when there was also a 9.3 month supply.  It wasn’t that long ago, August 2020 to be exact, when the supply hit a record low level of 3.3 months.

St Louis New Home Supply is a little lower…

It’s a little hard to pinpoint the new home supply in St Louis for several reasons.  One, not all new homes that are for sale are listed in the MLS and then the MLS allows new homes to be listed in two categories, both new construction and normal residential, so that can skew the data as well.  Nonetheless, we do the best we can to sort through the data.  As our table at the bottom shows, there is currently a little over a 7-month supply of new homes for sale in St Louis, so still higher than a historical “norm” but about 2-months less than at the national level.

  

Inventory of New Homes In The U.S. Hits Highest level since 2010

Given the low-inventory of homes for sale that has existed for some time now, it may be hard to believe my next statement, but the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD show that there is currently a 9-month supply of newly constructed homes in the U.S. As the chart below illustrates, this is the highest level the supply of new homes in the U.S. has reached since May 2010 when there was a 9.3 month supply.

The months supply of depicted below is calculated as the ratio of new homes for sale to the number of new homes sold.  The resulting number represents the number of months it would take for the current new home inventory that is for sale to be depleted given the current sales rate if no new additional new homes were built.

  

Months Supply of New Homes In The U.S.

(click chart for live, interactive chart)

Months Supply of New Homes In The U.S.

Home Builders Losing Confidence In The Housing Market

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in conjunction with Wells Fargo publishes their House Market Index (HMI) monthly which reveals the sentiment of home builders about the market.  In the report released yesterday, the HMI fell 8 points to 69, marking the fifth month in a row that builder sentiment as declined and becoming the lowest level for builder sentiment since June 2020.

It may not be all that bad though…

As it true with most data, it’s all relative. With this in mind, this may be the 5th straight month that builder sentiment has fallen however, as the chart below illustrates at a level of 69 builder sentiment is still at a level that is historically high.  Since the inception of the HMI in January of 1985 the median value of the index is 56 so at 69 we’re still well above the overall median.  In the last 10 years, the median of the HMI Index has been 63 so the current level is also above that.

  

NAHB House Market Index (HMI)

NAHB House Market Index (HMI)

 

New Home Building Permits In St Louis For Most Recent 12-Months Continue Downward Trend

There were 4,699 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended March 31, 2022, a decrease of 6.86% from the same period a year ago when there were 5,045 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Four of the seven counties covered in the report saw a double-digit decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -March  2022

St Louis New Home Building Permits -March  2022

 

New Home Building Permits Decline Nearly 6 Percent In St Louis In Past 12-Months

There were 4,669 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended February 28, 2022, a decrease of 5.8% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,956 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Four of the seven counties covered in the report saw a double-digit decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -February  2022

St Louis New Home Building Permits -February  2022

 

New Home Building Permits Decline In St Louis In Past 12-Months

There were 4,743 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended January 31, 2022, a decrease of 2.5% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,864 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Four of the seven counties covered in the report saw a decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago.  Warren, Lincoln, and St Charles County had a double-digit decrease.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -January  2022

 

New Home Building Permits Increase By Double Digits in Franklin County and St Louis City In Past 12-Months

There were 4,851 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended November 30, 2021, an increase of 3.17% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,702 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Three of the seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago, two of those, Franklin County and the City of St Louis,  a double-digit increase.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -November 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits -November 2021

 

St Louis New Home Building Permits Increase Nearly 6 Percent In Past Year

There were 4,838 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended October 31, 2021, an increase of 2.98% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,698 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Four of the seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago, three with a double-digit increase.  St Charles County continues to show a trend of a slight decline in permits with this period falling short of the 12-month period ended last month.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -October 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits -October 2021

 

St Louis New Home Building Permits Increase Over 6 Percent In Past Year

There were 4,938 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2021, an increase of 6.38% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,642 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Five of the seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago, three with a double-digit increase.  St Charles County continues to show a trend of a slight decline in permits with this period falling short of the 12-month period ended last month.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -September 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits -September 2021

 

St Louis New Home Building Permits Increase In August In 6 of 7 Counties

There were 4,926 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended August 31, 2021, an increase of 6.44% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,628 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Six of the seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago, half of them with a double-digit increase and the other half with a slight increase.  St Charles County saw new home permits fall by 1.18% from 1,777 permits to 1,756 permits during the period.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -August 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits - August 2021

 

St Louis New Home Building Permits Decrease Slightly In June

There were 5,135 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended June 30, 2021 an increase of 12.91% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,548 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  After all seven counties seeing an increase in building permits from the prior period for the prior 4 months, this month six counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago.  Also worth noting is that the 12-month total number of permits dropped slightly in June from May’s 5,201 permits and was also just slightly below April’s 5,138 permits.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – June 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits - June 2021

 

New Home Sales In Midwest Outperforming Other Regions

In the past couple of days there have been many news reports about new home sales in the U.S. declining and reaching a 14-month low based upon the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau.  As the table below shows, the reports are accurate as new home sales for June 2021 in the U.S. were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 676,000 homes, the lowest annual rate in 14-months and a rate that is 6.6% lower than May and 19.4% lower than June 2020..    However, the good news for us here in the Midwest Region is, the same table shows that for our region new home sales in June 2021 were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 92,000 homes, an increase of 5.7% from the rate for May 2021 and an increase of 7.0% from June 2020.  All of the other regions, as well as the U.S. as a whole, saw a decline in annual rate from the month before as well as the year before.

Continued Increase In St Louis New Home Building Permits

There were 5,201 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended May 31, 2021 an increase of 17.19% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,438 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the forth month in a row, All seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago and with double-digit increases in all counties except Franklin.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – May 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits - May 2021

 

St Louis New Home Construction Increases Nearly 14 Percent During Past 12 Months

There were 5,138 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended April 30, 2021 an increase of 13.67% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,520 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the forth month in a row, All seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago and with double-digit increases for six of the seven counties. Lincoln County, for the fourth consecutive month, saw the largest increase at 53.8% followed by St Louis City at 29.32%.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – April 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits - April 2021

 

Nearly One-Fourth The Cost of a New Home is the result of regulatory costs

While lately there’s been a lot of talk about the skyrocketing lumber prices and the impact on the cost of a new home but that’s not the only thing impacting the price of new homes.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently released the results of its 2021 Land Developer Survey on Regulatory Costs which, as the detailed table below shows, the average total cost of regulatory items in the price of a new home is $93,870.  The NAHB in the same report indicates the average price of a new home is currently $397,300 so the cost of complying with regulatory issues makes up nearly 25%of the price (23.8%) of a new home.

The second table below breaks out the regulatory costs between ground development and home construction and, as it illustrates, the costs are fairly evenly divided between the two with ground development experiencing 10.5% cost for regulatory compliances and construction of the home itself 13.3%.

  

St Louis New Home Construction Still on the rise….Lincoln County leads the way in Percentage Increase

There were 5,045 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended March 31, 2021 an increase of over 10.5% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,564 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the forth month in a row, All seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago and with double-digit increases for four counties. Lincoln County, for the third consecutive month, saw the largest increase at 60.78% followed by Warren County at 17.61%.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – March 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits - March 2021

 

St Louis New Home Building Permits Issued In 2020 At Highest Level In 13 Years

There were a total of 7,863 residential building permits issued in the St Louis MSA during 2020 with 5,719 of this being for single-family homes both of which represent the highest number of building permits issued since 2007.  As the table below shows, there were 110 building permits issued for 2-unit buildings, 57 permits for 3-4 unit buildings and nearly 2,000 (1,977) issued for buildings with 5 units or more last year.

We’re not even close to the early 2000’s though…

As the chart below does such a great job of illustrating, even though the number of residential building permits in St Louis has increased significantly from hitting bottom in 2011 as a result of the 2008 housing bubble burst, we are still not close to the levels before the crash.  For the 13 years proceeding the housing bubble burst in 2008, the median number of residential building permits issued in the St Louis MSA in a year was 10,381 permits, 81% more than our “record” year last year.

The “New” Trend?

On the bottom chart, there is a red line which represents the linear trend line for single-family building permits, which on a positive note, does show the number of permits issued in the last 4 years  or so bucking the downward trend.

Is it any wonder the inventory of homes for sale is so low?

Wonder Why More New Homes Are Not Being Built?

With the inventory of homes for sale remaining at historically low levels for the last couple of years home buyers may be wondering why there aren’t more new homes being built?  Actually, in St Louis, new home construction has been increasing at a pretty good rate but it appears more homes can be absorbed by the market than are being built.

The answer to why more homes are not being built is probably the result of many things such as a lack of available ground in areas that are in demand, a shortage of contractors and tradesmen, the complication of, and cost related to regulatory compliance and the ever increasing cost of building materials.  The cost of many building materials has increased significantly but lumber prices, which is a major component of a new home in many ways, have just shot into the stratosphere.  As the chart below shows, the Producer Price Index for lumber and wood products shot up to 441 in March, an increase of 84% from a year ago.

According the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) the price increases in lumber have caused the price of an average home to increase by $24,000 since April 2020 just to cover this increased cost.

  

Producer Price Index by Commodity: Lumber and Wood Products: Softwood Lumber

(click on chart for live chart and more data)

Producer Price Index by Commodity: Lumber and Wood Products: Softwood Lumber

New Home Building Permits Still On The Rise

There were 4,956 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended February 28, 2021 an increase of 11.0% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,465 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the forth month in a row, All seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from the same period a year ago and with double-digit increases for four counties. Lincoln County saw the largest increase at 63.64% followed by St Louis County at 14.64%.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – February 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits - February 2021

 

St Louis New Home Construction Off To A Great Start This Year

There were 4,864 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended January 31, 2021, an increase of 9.6% from a year ago when there were 4,438 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the second month in a row, Like last month,  all seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits during the most recent 12-month period from the prior 12-month period.  Lincoln County saw the largest increase at 52.7% followed by Franklin County at 17.69%.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits –

January 2021

St Louis New Home Building Permits -  January 2021

 

New Home Building Permits In St Louis Area Increase Nearly 10 Percent In 2020 From 2019

There were 4,816 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during 2020, an increase of 9.11% from 2019 when there were 4,414 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the second month in a row, All seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits during 2020 from 2019 and with double-digit increases for four counties. Franklin County saw the largest increase at 19.40% followed by Lincoln County at 13.97%.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – December 2020

St Louis New Home Building Permits - December 2020

 

New Home Building Permits In St Louis Area Increase Nearly 10 Percent In August

There were4,628 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during July, an increase of 9.56% from a year ago when there were 4,224 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the second month in a row, Five of the seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from a year ago with three of them in the double digits. Franklin County saw the largest increase at 25.69% and Lincoln County experienced the largest decrease at 13.97%.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – August 2020

St Louis New Home Building Permits - August 2020

 

Franklin County Sees Biggest Increase In New Home Permits Again In July

There were 4,573 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during July, an increase of 7.0% from a year ago when there were 4,271 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the second month in a row, Franklin County saw the largest percentage increase in building permits from a year ago with an increase of 27.59% from July 2019.  St Louis County, which a decrease in permits last month from a year ago, so nearly an 11% increase in July 2020 from July 2019.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – July 2020

St Louis New Home Building Permits - July 2020