RealtyTrac recently started acquiring historical building permit data at the address level to help our users better assess the number, type and dollar amount of improvements made for individual properties as well as for neighboring properties to help determine the pride of ownership in a given neighborhood. See below for an example of how this building permit activity is displayed on a property on RealtyTrac.
Building Permit Analysis
Our crack data analysis team here also took a look at this data to evaluate some of the high-level trends in building permit activity we’re seeing in some of the nation’s largest counties. For this analysis we looked at 13 of the most populated counties across the country with the most robust building permit data available (see table below). We looked specifically at the metric of average job cost in dollars for building permits on residential properties, including single family homes, condos and town homes. Below the table is a list of some of the high-level findings.
The job cost is an estimate usually done by the contractor. It includes materials and labor to perform the work itself but, does not include land costs. The permit fee may be buried in the costs. For this analysis, we only looked at building permits filed on existing residential properties, which would comprise both major and minor remodels.
Some high-level observations:
- Average job cost per building permit increased in 2013 compared to 2012 in 10 out of the 13 metros analyzed, with the average annual change a 31 percent increase
- The biggest annual increases were in Cook County, IL (up 103 percent), Dallas County, TX (up 91 percent), Harris County, TX (up 48 percent), Ramsey County, MN (up 44 percent), and Los Angeles County, CA (up 42 percent).
- The three counties where average job cost per building permit decreased in 2013 compared to 2012 were Maricopa County, AZ (down 14 percent), Cuyahoga County, OH (down 6 percent), and Orange County, FL (down 1 percent).
- The average job cost per building permit hit the highest level in the last nine years for which data was available in two counties: Denver County, CO, and Kings County, NY.
- The average job cost peaked in 2005 in five counties, peaked in 2006 in three counties, peaked in 2010 in two counties, and peaked in 2009 in one county.
- The average job cost was down 31 percent on average across the 13 counties.
- The average job cost per building permit ranged from a high of more than $87,000 in Kings County, NY to a low of just over $3,700 in Ramsey County, MN
- Other counties among the top 3 highest average job costs were Maricopa County, AZ ($48,850) and San Diego County, CA ($40,521).
- Other counties among the bottom 3 lowest average job costs were Macomb County, MI ($5,412) and Cuyahoga County, OH ($5,137).