Housing construction in the Twin Cities took a breather last month. During March, builders were issued 334 permits to build 928 houses and apartments. There was a slight decline in the number of total permits, but the number of planned units doubled. (A single permit can be issued to build more than one unit.)
Permits to build single-family houses declined 7 percent. Several large multifamily projects got permits, including a 180-unit building in Minnetonka, a 160-unit building in Woodbury and a 79-unit building in White Bear Lake.
The decline in single-family construction comes after one of the strongest Februarys in several years for area homebuilders. During February, there was a 47 percent annual increase in single-family construction compared with last year. Builders rushed to get ahead of code changes that are expected to add thousands of dollars to the cost of the average new house.
"We are deeply concerned that the new building code and the unnecessary costs that come with it could stifle our industry in 2015," said Chris Contreras, president of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.
Such month-to-month volatility isn't unusual for the industry, especially during the early months of the year. Homebuilding is highly seasonal. Cold weather and slippery streets tend to stall home sales, causing builders to pull back on their plans.
These were the top five communities for permit issuance, in number of proposed units:
• Minnetonka: 190 units
• Woodbury: 181 units
• Vadnais Heights and Edina (tied): 84 units
• White Bear Lake: 80 units