If you build it, they will come . . . and they’ll tear it to the ground if you don’t have a building permit! What is a building permit? Why do we need building permits? Why is the distribution of building permits a good indicator of the housing market? The Census Bureau tracks the annual estimates of building permits (issued at a county level) to help understand the current state of the housing industry, and they recently released their data on building permit activity for 2013. So today, we’re going to explore that data and what it means for 2014 and beyond. Scroll down to learn more.
Building Permit Activity
Before we talk about building permit activity for the past year, let’s talk about what building permits are exactly. Also called a construction permit or home permit, a building permit is a document that authorizes new construction or major renovations. In most jurisdictions, you are required to have a building permit before you begin construction, and throughout the process, your construction will be inspected to ensure that it follows building codes. If a home or building is constructed without a building permit, the person or company responsible could be fined and/or penalized. In some cases, if the new construction isn’t safe and can’t be changed to meet building codes, it will be demolished.
If you live in Springfield, Missouri, like we do, you can learn more about local building permits in the Building Development Services section of the City of Springfield website. According to our fair city’s laws, “A Building Permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, move or demolish a structure; or change the occupancy of a building or structure requiring greater strength, exit or sanitary provisions; or to change to another use; or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by the Building Code.”
Building permit activity is a great way to measure the health of the housing market because the permits are issued before construction begins. In studying building permit activity, we can learn more about the financial state of the housing market as well as the job outlook for the housing and construction industry.
According to the data released by the Census Bureau, there was an increase in the number of single family building permits issued in 2013 compared to 2012 in 1,807 counties. The number of permits decreased in just 858 counties. With multi-family permits, increases outweighed decreases once again. In 820 counties, the number increased; in 675 counties, the number decreased. It should be noted that 1,479 counties saw no multi-family building permit activity in 2012 and 2013.
This increase is great news for the housing industry, and we expect (and hope!) that more good news will follow.
Are you interested in building a new home or remodeling your current abode this year? If you’re located in southwest Missouri, check out The Bailey Company. We can assist you in any or all stages of construction, from the pre-construction and design process to building your new home or office. For more information, please click here or give us a call at 417-887-6177.
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