ORLANDO, Fla. – Building permits reflect future growth, and U.S. contractors appear to be betting heavily on the Sunshine State. A study of government numbers compiled by Omnis Panels compared 2021 building permits for the first half of the year, through June, and compared them to building permits issued for the same timeframe one year earlier.
Of major U.S. cities – those with at least 1,000 building permits issued – Ocala topped the list with a 79% year-to-year increase. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro came in second with a 77% increase. Rounding out the top 10, Naples-Marco Island ranked No. 6 with a 65% jump, No. 9 Northport-Sarasota-Bradenton with a 62% increase, and No. 10 Lakeland with a 61% increase.
Overall, Florida had more metro areas make the “increased building permit” list for single-family homes than any other state.
Only one major Florida city even made the list, Jacksonville at No. 49, with a 53% growth in building permits through June 2021.
However, part of that may also be reflected in the basis for the study.
A separate Omnis Panels list of top building permits that includes all U.S. cities, not just those with a minimum of 1,000, put Anchorage, Alaska, at No. 1. That city had 230 building permits in 2020 and 491 in 2021 – an improvement of 261 for an increase of 113%.
However, The Villages in Florida – No. 46 on the “minimum 1,000 units” list and not even on the list of cities regardless of size – had 1,425 in 2020 and 1,924 in 2021, an improvement of 499 but an increase of only 35%.
Jerome Henin, president of the Henin Group development company, said the areas surrounding major cities are primed for growth. He told The Orlando Sentinel that his projects in nearby Sanford and Tavares wouldn’t have been considered hot markets just a few years ago.
“We used to average two and a half home [sales] a month years ago,” Henin told the Sentinel. “Now we’re selling 20 homes a month.”
The rapid pace of Florida new-home builds should continue, though it depends a bit on factors outside the industry’s control. While the cost of lumber has fallen to reasonable levels over the past few months, other materials are still hard to get. The National Association of Home Builders also points to a continuing labor shortage.
Florida metros in the top 50 for building permits (minimum 1,000 units)
1. Ocala, 2917 permits in the first half of 2021, a 79% increase
2. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, 5,150 permits, a 77% increase
6. Naples-Marco Island, 2,211 permits, a 65% increase
9. North Port-Sarasota, 6,303 permits, a 62% increase
10. Lakeland-Winter Haven, 6,303 permits, a 62% increase
13. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, 2,481 permits, a 60% increase
14. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach, 2,481 permits, a 60% increase
16. Punta Gorda, 1,567 permits, a 56% increase
18. Port St. Lucie, 2,804 permits, a 53% increase
20. Jacksonville, 8,513 permits, a 53% increase
28. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, 1,852 permits, a 45% increase
46. The Villages, 1,924 permits, a 35% increase
SOURCE: Article written by Kerry Smith (OCTOBER 21, 2021)