The number of home permits nationally was up 6 percent in 2017, according to a new report by construction industry website ConstructConnect. However, that average belies a wide range of new home activity across the states.
While the overall highest concentration of new home starts was in Atlantic coastal states, high bursts of new construction were spread around the country. The District of Columbia was the most active area for new home starts in 2017, with activity there spiking 29 percent. But the second-most-active state was as far away as someone in D.C. could get and still be in America. New home starts in Hawaii were up 20 percent last year.
New York, Delaware, Arkansas, and Idaho completed the top six states for new construction in 2017. New construction in these states was up an average of 18 percent over 2016. Idaho also saw the largest overall population increase of any state last year. Idaho's population increased by 2.2 percent.
Seventeen states, from every region of the country, saw new home starts grow between 4 and 9 percent last year, according to the report. Arizona, Washington, and Utah exactly mirrored the national 6 percent growth rate. Alabama was the only state to finish 2017 flat compared to 2016.
“The states with only average or weaker performances of housing starts last year were in the northwest, the southeast and most notably in the middle of the country,” the report stated. “The middle northern states are the agricultural heartland. The middle southern states are recovering from an energy-sector downturn.”
Fifteen states reported negative new home construction start numbers last year; three in double digits. North Dakota showed a 15 percent decrease in new housing starts in 2017, followed closely by Connecticut, which showed a 14 percent drop. Oklahoma reported 11 percent fewer home starts compared to 2016.
Vermont, New Hampshire, Missouri, and Minnesota inversely mirrored the national growth trend in new starts last year. Each of these states posted a 6 percent decrease in new home start activity.