New housing permits on the rise

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Housing permits for Michigan single-family homes increased by 40% in January, in comparison to permits pulled in the first month of last year. Courtesy Thinkstockphotos.com

New housing permits are up substantially in Michigan but still below numbers seen only two years ago.

Housing permits for Michigan single-family homes increased by 40% in January, in comparison to permits pulled in the first month of last year, according to the Home Builders Association of Michigan.

In January 2020, 938 permits were issued statewide compared to 667 in January 2019.

“We are cautiously optimistic by this increase,” said Bob Filka, CEO of the HBA of Michigan. “Lower interest rates, reductions in the number of existing homes for sale and better weather this winter have all contributed to this faster start for the year.

Filka added remodeling activity also has exploded in the past year with a more than $1 billion increase of activity in the state.

Despite the optimistic start in 2020, these numbers still are below permit levels seen in 2017 and 2018. Several trends continue to contribute to limited production and the housing crisis HBAM has warned about for the past few years.

“The reality is the housing industry has changed dramatically. We are encouraged by these numbers, but we still need to work with local communities to develop more affordable housing options for Michigan citizens,” Filka said. “Progress is being made in a number of communities but more needs to be done.”

According to HBAM, lack of skilled labor, shortage of buildable lots, and inconsistent and burdensome government regulations are troubling issues that negatively impact the housing industry.

To keep up with the growing housing challenges around the state, HBAM continues to encourage communities to develop new strategies in partnership with builders and developers.

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