Housing construction in the Twin Cities metro continues its seesaw recovery.
During the past four weeks, builders were issued 476 permits to build 1,150 units, according to a midyear report from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.
That’s a 15 percent increase in permits compared with last year, according to the association, which tracks permit requests for new apartments and houses in the 13-county metro area.
“After several months of disappointing numbers, we’re pleased to see a boost in the market,” said Chris Contreras, BATC’s president and a Twin Cities-area builder.
The bulk of the gains last month came from apartment construction, which represented more than 60 percent of all planned units, including at least three big multifamily projects.
In Minneapolis, for example, Frana Cos. is planning to build a 150-unit apartment building and Ryan Cos. submitted a request for a 134-unit building.
In Maple Grove, Stonebridge Construction is building 205 units and in Chaska, Trident Development is building 138 units.
Despite double-digit gains in existing home sales across the metro, homebuilders are still struggling to create their own sustained recovery.
During June, builders were issued 398 permits for single-family houses, a 12 percent increase from last year and the second-most in nearly a decade. But so far this year, housing construction is down 2 percent compared with 2014.
Though all the fundamentals are strong, housing construction has been a weak spot in the economy. That appears to be changing.
Late last week, the U.S. Commerce Department said that permits to build single-family houses across the United States rose to a nearly eight-year high last month, suggesting growing momentum for the industry after several lackluster months.
The report said that building permits increased 11.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.28 million units, the highest since August 2007 and the second consecutive month of increases.
The strength of those numbers was reflected in the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index survey, which reached its highest level of the year, surpassing expectations.
“We remain disappointed in how the local new construction market has lagged both the national numbers and the local resale housing market for the year,” said Contreras.
“We’re hopeful that this trend will continue, putting the Midwest back on track with the rest of the country for an improving housing market.”