Outlook: Construction Continues Its Climb in Twin Cities

Sat June 19, 2004 - Midwest Edition

New residential construction has continued on a growth curve since 1997, providing homeownership opportunities and jobs to the Twin Cities region even through the national recession.

While recent permit statistics show a slight drop in activity in April, the industry continues on track to maintain near record levels through the year.

April 2004 had a total of 903 permits issued for 1,283 planned units at a value of $238 million. This is 11 percent ahead of April 2003’s 811 permits, 14 percent behind last year’s 1,497 planned units, and virtually identical to last April’s value.

Comparing April in the past seven years, permits are approximately 4 percent ahead of 2002, 4 percent behind 2001, 27 percent behind 2000, 16 percent behind 1999, 2 percent ahead of 1998 and 20 percent ahead of 1997.

In planned units, April 2004 was 12.5 percent behind April 2002, approximately 2 percent ahead of 2001, 29 percent behind 2000, 9 percent behind 1999, 21 percent ahead of 1998 and 45 percent ahead of 1997.

Value of permits in April 2004 ran between zero and 110 percent ahead of April values during the past seven years.

Year-to-date, 2004 leads all but 1999 and 2000 over the previous seven years in permits, is slightly behind 2000, 2002 and 2003 in planned units and is ahead of each of those years in value.

In the first 17 weeks of 2004 the region issued 3,115 permits for 5,019 planned units at a value of $904 million.

In permits, year-to-date 2004, is approximately 5 percent ahead of 2003, 9 percent ahead of 2002, 6 percent ahead of 2001, 17 percent behind 2000, 9 percent behind 1999, 10 percent ahead of 1998 and 33 percent ahead of 1997.

Planned units are 6 percent behind last year, less than .5 percent behind 2002 (nine units fewer), 29 percent ahead of 2001, 7 percent behind 2000, 10 percent ahead of 1999, 32 percent ahead of 1998 and 70 percent higher than in 1997. Value of permits in 2004 ranges from 7 to 136 percent higher than in any of the previous seven years.

For the month of April, attached housing accounted for 41.6 percent of the total (648 of the 1,557 units).

For the year so far, a total of 2,265, or 45.1 percent of the total planned units were for multi-family housing. This compares to multi-family units running at 48.6 percent in 2003, 43.7 percent in 2002, 41.5 percent in 2001, and 37.5 percent in 2000.

“While interest rates are beginning to rise, the economy has been heating up,” said Rick Kot, 2004 president of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities and president of R.A. Kot Homes Inc. “So even though the numbers in April were a bit down, we are still forecasting near record housing activity for 2004.”

For the month of April, four of March’s top growth cities (Shakopee, Blaine, Lakeville and Brooklyn Park) made the top five for permits, while Brooklyn Park, Lakeville and Blaine retained top five positions in planned units.

In permits, Blaine took over the lead with 94, Brooklyn Park moved into second with 58, followed by Lakeville with 57, Ramsey with 53, and Shakopee retained fifth place with 49.

For planned units, Blaine moved from fourth to first place with 143 units, Lakeville dropped to second with 108, Brooklyn Park moved into third with 101, followed by Ramsey with 95 and Savage with 67.

Year-to-date, the top five in permits remained the same but shifted positions, while Blaine and Brooklyn Park moved into the top five in planned units, pushing Woodbury and Maple Grove into sixth and ninth place respectively.

In the first 17 weeks of 2004, Blaine moved into first in permits with 199, Lakeville remained in second with 171, March’s first place, Woodbury, dropped to third with 164, and the fourth and fifth place finishers swapped positions with Brooklyn Park at 151 and Shakopee at 149 permits.

Inver Grove Heights again led in planned units with 465 (for 43 permits), Lakeville remained in second place with 314, Blaine jumped to third with 267, followed Shakopee with 225, and Brooklyn Park with 221.

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities has contracted with Keystone Report, a local research firm, to maintain a database with information about new residential construction permits around the metropolitan area. After the builder has picked up the permit from the city, Keystone Report compiles and updates weekly residential housing permits by city for 70 percent of the metropolitan-area municipalities within the 11-plus county region.

Planned units are the total number of housing units planned to be built under the permits issued (one permit is issued per building, which may include more than one housing unit).

Permit value does not include the lot costs. The reporting period for April compares statistics for four weeks, while year-to-date figures cover the first 17 weeks of the year.