Single-family Housing Ended Strong as Multifamily Faltered in 2020

Single-family permits rose in all four regions of the U.S. in 2020, while multifamily permits saw declines.


Single-family housing continued to maintain its strength through the end of 2020, reaching 977,863 permits issued, a 14.5% year-over-year increase from December 2019. Multifamily permits, on the other hand, struggled to keep up, reaching just 473,716 permits issued, an 8.2% dip from the previous year.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), single-family permits reported increases in all four U.S. regions for full-year 2020, with the South seeing the highest gain at 16.9% and the West seeing the lowest at 10.5%. Only five states and the District of Columbia saw declines in single-family permits. Of the 45 states reporting growth, 10 states issuing the highest number of permits represented 61.5% of all those issued across the country.

20160524 162325Conversely, multifamily permits saw declines in all four U.S. regions, with the steepest decline in the Northeast (-11.1%) and the most modest decline in the Midwest (-1.2%). Only 16 states and the District of Columbia reported growth in permits. “South Dakota led the way with a sharp rise (124.2%) in multifamily permits from 1,267 to 2,841, while Kentucky had the largest decline of 51.9% from 4,881 to 2,348,” the NAHB reports. “The 10 states issuing the highest number of multifamily permits combined accounted for 63.0% of the multifamily permits issued.”

Click here for a full review of the NAHB data, including a breakdown of the top 10 metro areas for permits issued.