Northwest Arkansas' new-home permits more than double national average
Nearly 109 building permits for new homes per capita were issued in the Northwest Arkansas metro area in May 2023, up from 76.2 in May 2020 — the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Of the 586 total permits during May, 534 were issued for single-family homes, six for buildings with 2-4 units, and 46 for those with five or more units.
- That's per a new analysis of Census Bureau data.
The big picture: Nationwide, 42.3 new homebuilding permits per capita were issued in May 2023, up from 32.9 in May 2020.
Why it matters: A post-pandemic nationwide housing shortage is keeping prices high.
- Recent estimates from Freddie Mac indicate the U.S. is short about 3.8 million units of housing, either for rent or purchase, Axios' Emily Peck reports.
- A bump in new-home construction, however, could bring prices down — it's basic supply and demand.
By the numbers: In May 2023, 139,600 total permits were issued across the U.S.; many of those — 88,900 — were for single-family homes.
- Nearly 46,000 were issued for buildings with five or more units, and nearly 5,000 for those with two to four units.
State of play: While many newly built homes have been targeted at (and priced for) relatively wealthy buyers, homebuilders are starting to focus on more affordable projects for first-time homebuyers, per Axios' Matt Phillips.
What they're saying: "It's a renewed focus, given the lack of inventory," Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, told Matt.
- "First-time buyers are going to play a key role in the order expansion for homebuilders going forward."
Yes, but: "There's little sign of a Levittown-style surge of modest-home construction to magically solve the inventory problem anytime soon," Matt writes.
- Plus, even if costs come down, mortgage rates remain relatively high.
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