New home permits up 47 percent in St Charles County and 25 percent in St Louis County in 2012; It’s all relative though…

Saint Louis Realtor, Dennis Normanst-louis-real-estate-realtor-dennis-normanIt’s funny what you can do with stats….without any dishonesty (well, maybe a little deception) you can use statistics to paint just about any picture (or create any headline) you want. For example, we all know the new home market in St Louis, like the rest of the country,  has suffered tremendously since 2006 (perhaps I know this better than many) and it is improving but sometimes the media I think paints a picture that does not always convey the big picture.  For example, lets look at the following statements about building permit data for new homes in St Louis, all of which are based upon the same data from the HBA and all of which are true statements:

  • New home permits up almost 50 percent (47%) in St Charles County in 2012 over prior year
  • New home permits up 25 percent in St Louis County in 2012 from year ago.
  • 2012 sees highest number of building permits issued in 5 years in St Charles and St Louis County.
  • In 2012 St Louis County issued only one-fourth the number of building permits as in the prior 25 years on average
  • 1987-2011 St Charles County averaged 2,676 New Home Permits a year but 2012 saw just over half that many (1,497)

Get the idea?  While all these stats are accurate, they do not necessarily paint the real picture.  The real picture is we are seeing some definite improvement in the new home market in St Louis and there has been a fairly significant increase in building permits in the past year from the prior year, but the numbers are still awful, just not as awful as last year.  As the last bullet point above shows, St Charles County is, even with the improvement, at just 55 percent of the number of new home permits that were issued on average in each of the prior 25 years, and St Louis county issued 552 permits in 2012, just 27 percent of the average of 2,027 in the prior 25 years.

So, as the headline says, it’s all relative.  The St. Louis new home market is improving, but it has a long way to go before it will even be close to “normal”.


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