Permits for new single family housing units posted year-over-year gains in October, increasing by 7.9% nationally and 14.3% in the south region. They were also on the rise in Alabama, increasing 17.6% year-over-year (Y/Y) from 1,039 in October of last year to the current level of 1,222. Year-to-date, permits are up 6% in Alabama and 0.9% in the South region, while they are down 2.2% nationwide.
Permits in Alabama are still climbing after October, in part, to impressive growth in Huntsville, Birmingham, and Daphne-Fairhope-Foley area’s new construction market. October saw an increase in both of these markets, and permits are now up 16% YTD in Huntsville, 9.0% in the Birmingham area, and 15.7% in the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley area. The Huntsville metro area leads the state in total permits in 2019, with 2,886 through October, while the Birmingham-Hoover metro area is second with 2,454. This is very impressive when one considers the population estimates for both areas: 455,000 in the Huntsville metro area and 1,130,000 in the Birmingham-Hoover. Additionally, many economic projects are underway, including the Toyota Mazda manufacturing facility that will produce 4,000 plus jobs when production begins in 2021. These strong economic development projects will give added energy to an already strong new construction market as population and job growth continue to trend upwards in the area. Huntsville’s population is estimated to overtake Birmingham within the decade so we can expect permits for new single family housing units in this area to remain strong in the future.
However, the boom in new construction activity in north Alabama is not limited to Huntsville. With a strategic location along the Tennessee River, access to two Class I railroads (Norfolk Southern and CSX), and nearby I-65 it is no surprise that 12 Fortune 500 companies have invested in the Decatur area. This is evident with the acceleration in the number of new permits so far this year compared to last year. October saw an increase of 16.3% YTD, which is in the top five for all metro areas in the state for YTD growth. Moving to the eastern side of the state, the Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville area has also experienced a rise in new construction activity as permits are up 26.4% YTD. This is the second highest YTD growth percentage in the state through October.
Other markets in Alabama with significant permit gains include Gadsden (34.2% YTD) and Montgomery (17.2%). Currently, all of Alabama’s 12 metropolitan areas are experiencing more permit activity than one year ago.
New Single Family Permits in Alabama’s Metro Areas