Friday, September 21, 2007

Arizona Counties Lead Nation's Home-Building

With the national housing market in the dumper, here is what the latest Census report says about housing construction markets across the U.S.

Pinal County, Ariz., part of the Phoenix metro area, had the highest growth rate of housing units of any county in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today. Meanwhile, neighboring Maricopa County was the biggest numerical gainer.

Pinal’s housing increased by 16.6 percent, or more than 18,000 units, from July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006. Maricopa gained 43,000 units. A housing unit can be a house, an apartment or even a single room intended as separate living quarters with direct access from outside.

Flagler County, Fla., north of Daytona Beach on the Atlantic coast, had the highest growth rate of housing stock the previous two years but slipped to fifth place in 2006. Two other Florida counties among the top five were second-place Sumter (west of Orlando) and fourth-place Lee (southwestern Florida). Kendall, Ill., near Chicago, was third. (See Table 1 Excel PDF.)

Maricopa was followed in numerical growth by Harris County (Houston), Texas, which added 39,000 units; Clark County (Las Vegas), Nev., with 38,000; Riverside County (east of Los Angeles), Calif., with 33,000; and Lee County (Fort Myers), Fla., with 28,000. (See Table 2 Excel PDF.)

Among all counties and county equivalents, Orleans Parish, La., experienced the largest numerical decline in housing units between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006, losing 107,000, or slightly more than half its housing stock. Neighboring St. Bernard Parish, had the highest rate of decline, losing 76.2 percent of its homes. Both parishes suffered major damage from Hurricane Katrina early in the period. (See Tables 3 Excel PDF and 4 Excel PDF.)

At the state level, four of the five states with the most rapid housing growth are in the West: Nevada (with a growth rate of 4.5 percent), Arizona (3.5 percent), Idaho (3.4 percent), Florida (3.3 percent) and Utah (3.1 percent). Nevada’s rate of growth was more than triple the national average. (See Table 5 Excel PDF.)

The South dominated the states adding the highest number of housing units. Florida gained 273,000 homes during the period to lead all states, followed by Texas (198,000), California (181,000), Georgia (101,000) and North Carolina (89,000). Louisiana was the only state to experience a decline, with the number of housing units falling by 110,000, or 5.7 percent.

The United States had an estimated 126.3 million housing units as of July 1, 2006, representing an increase of 1.8 million, or 1.4 percent, since July 1, 2005.

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