The recent Parade of Homes had a record low number of participants this year. Only 18 homes were included in the Parade, and industry insiders tell Tallahassee Reports this is an indication of a slow down in new construction in Leon County.
Building new homes is a major part of any local economy. Construction activity impacts many different sectors of the economy and is why construction is viewed as a leading indicator of future economic activity.
Since the Great Recession put the brakes on new construction, everyone has been focused on the comeback. How is Leon County doing with the new construction since the Great Recession?
The chart below shows the annual number of single family building permits recorded from From 1985 through 2014.
From 1985 to 2007, just before the Great Recession, Leon County averaged 1200 single family building permits each year.
The chart shows the drastic decline in permits that began in 2006 and continued through 2011. In 2012, single family building permits began to increase and a upward trend continued through 2014.
The chart below takes a closer look at the number of single family permits over the last 29 months. The chart shows the annual trend of single family permits for each month since December, 2012.
The chart reveals an upward trend beginning in December, 2012 (281 permits) and ending in May, 2014 (447 permits).
Since May, 2014 the growth in permits has flattened and a downward trend appears to have begun in October, 2014. For the 12-month period ending in April, 2015, 432 single family permits were recorded, down from a peak of 463 permits in October, 2014.
How does the rebound in construction in Leon County compare to other jurisdictions?
The chart below shows the 2014 single family building permits as a percentage of the 10 year average of single family building permits before the Great Recession.
The numbers show that Leon County is lagging behind the recovery taking place at the national, regional, and state level.
Leon County is at 36% of the the 10 year average of building permits before the recession while the state of Florida is at 43%, the South as a region is at 55% and the US is at 48%.
However, TR gathered data from Alachua County, which is home to Gainesville, FL, and found that the recovery in single family construction is comparable to what is taking place in Tallahassee. Alachua County is at 35% of the the 10 year average of building permits before the recession.
Industry sources tell TR that their main concern is that builders are running out of land that is ready for development. These sources also expressed frustration with local officials who have not planned in advance for the current situation.
TR will continue to report on trends in new residential construction.