Latest Housing Permits Suggest Robust Recovery

Originally published by the following source: SBC MagazineJuly 17, 2020
by Sean Shields


The Virginia Tech-USDA Forest Service Housing Commentary looking backward at May 2020 contains some positive news for the residential construction industry and component manufacturers. In 2019, there were 1,338,000 housing permits issued. While 2020 started off at an even quicker pace, the effects of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy had slowed permit activity to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,066,000 housing permits by the end of April. But by the end of May, that rate reversed course, surging to 1,220,000 (see chart 1).

Total New Housing Permits

Chart 1

This recovery in permitting was spread across all four regions of the country, with the NE rate almost doubling between April and May (see tables 1 and 2). It should be noted that the NE recovery was driven by the multifamily sector.

New Housing Permits by Region NE and MW

Table 1

New Housing Permits by Region S and W

Table 2