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Single-Family Housing Construction Sags in 2023, But Better Times are on the Horizon

Feb. 22, 2024

Last year was not the best of times for U.S. single-family building permits because high mortgage rates scared away potential homebuyers. At the national level, in 2023 single-family building permits slid -6.8% (-66,357 permits) to 909,227.
But builders in two of the nation’s most active housing markets were still pulling permits at a rate far exceeding the national average. For instance, in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX MSA, the nation’s largest market for single-family permits, topped 50,000 and increased +4.8% (see chart on page 2). The only other metro in the Top 10 to register an increase was Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL, where permits hit 17,035 due to a +5.1% increase. The other markets in 2023’s Top 10 were Dallas (42,543/-2.5%); Phoenix (24,810/ -7.6%); Atlanta (23,972/-10%); Charlotte (19,088/+0.3%); Austin (16,738/-15.1%); Tampa (14,827/-5.4%); Nashville (14,169/ -7.9%); and Jacksonville (12,402/-13.9%).
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) expects single-family building permits to increase +4.6% in 2024 and +8.5% in 2025. In a post at, NAHB said it’s projecting that single-family production will rebound to a 925,000 annual pace in 2024.


“The 2022 and 2023 declines appear dramatic because production was running at a very solid level above a 1.1 million annualized pace through the first quarter of 2022 before beginning a steep decline as mortgage rates rose rapidly and the housing market weakened,” said NAHB.
When you look at single-family permits over the past five years, you will see some number that show that despite the high interest rates and COVID-19  challenges, home construction in the hottest markets was absolutely booming.
Check out how many single-family permit were pulled from 2019-2023 in the five most active markets: Houston (239,856); Dallas (217,128); Phoenix (142,698); Atlanta (137,048); and Austin (101,937).
Despite its recent challenges, the single-family construction market remains one of  the key market segments for the electrical wholesaling industry. Depending on the individual local market dynamics and housing demand, it typically accounts for 7.6% of sales through electrical distributors. In 2024, Electrical Marketing estimates that could be $11.2 billion, unadjusted for inflation.
Single-family building permits are an important leading economic indicator to watch because permits are typically pulled several months before builders break ground on a new house. These permits are also usually a harbinger of other construction activity to come, because once a large housing development goes in, light commercial construction typically follows, such as strip shopping centers, gas stations, restaurants and other retail buildings.

Click on the Green Box below to download current and historical single-family building permit data.