Jun 28, 2022 - News

Detroit homebuilding lags among U.S. metros

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Metro Detroit ranks near the bottom nationally when it comes to building new homes.

What they found: Our metro area had 2.9 single-family building permits per 10,000 people in the first quarter of 2022, per the latest analysis from real estate company Redfin.

  • That ranks 43rd per capita among major U.S. metros.

Why it matters: As the number of homes for sale remains low and mortgage rates are at their highest level in more than a decade, building more homes is one way to ease the affordability crisis.

Context: The relative lack of homebuilding is happening in places homebuyers are leaving, per Redfin.

  • Detroit's population dropped by about 31,000 people to 639,111 from 2019 to 2020, according to the latest Census data. But the city is challenging those figures.

Of note: Aside from building new homes, the city is creating new housing by fixing up dilapidated vacant homes as part of its blight elimination strategy.

Zoom out: Single-family (one to four housing units) and multifamily (five or more) building permits are up from pre-pandemic in most U.S. metros., Redfin found.

Yes, but: "There still aren't enough homes to meet the pace of household creation, and we need to be more prepared when demand inevitably picks back up," said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather.

The bottom line: Ramping up new home construction in the metro area should help move the market toward balance, if only a little.

Data: Redfin; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

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