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Interactive graphic: Florida under construction

ORLANDO, Fla. – May 16, 2014 –While new home construction has picked up again in Florida as of late, not all areas of the state have been impacted equally. To illustrate this fact, we have developed an interactive graphic (below) using annual county-level building permit data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Because multifamily buildings contain multiple housing units, the graphic displays the total number of housing units permitted rather than the total number of residential buildings permitted.

In terms of single family home permits issued over the past five years (2009-2013), three counties have clearly stood above the rest. Hillsborough, Orange, and Sumter counties—the respective locations of Tampa, Orlando, and The Villages—have by far seen the most permit activity for single family homes.

The figures for booming Sumter County are by far the most impressive of the three counties given their relative population sizes. Over the past five years, Sumter County racked up nearly as many single family home permits as Orange County and over 55 percent more permits than the next county down the list, Palm Beach.

On the multifamily side [click the “Multifamily” radio button on the map to follow along], there are no real surprises. Miami-Dade County is far and away the leader, with over 52 percent more multifamily units than second-ranked Orange County.

For total combined single family and multifamily unit permits [click the “(All)” radio button], the top three counties are Hillsborough, Orange, and Miami-Dade, with the latter coming in nearly 49 percent higher than fourth-ranked Palm Beach. Entirely on the strength of its single family permit totals, Sumter County again sits impressively high at fifth on the list, just ahead of both Duval and Broward counties.

In all, the data show that the return of new home construction to Florida is largely concentrated in three of the state’s major centers of population and economic activity (Tampa, Orlando, and Miami), as well as The Villages. A little less obvious is the fact that recent construction is also much more concentrated along the I-4 corridor than it was during the five years leading up to the peak of last decade’s housing bubble. To see this change, select the years 2002-2006 using the Date Range slider on the map, and note how much more evenly-shaded the map becomes.

-- Brad O'Connor, research economist, Florida Realtors