Jun 2, 2023

U.S. Census Bureau Adds 2022 Building Permit Data Available for Every U.S. County

For the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau has created an interactive map of national, state and county building permit data.

The recently released tool allows quick access and insight into the dynamics of permits issued for new residential construction.

Why does it matter? Because markets for new housing can vary — hotter in some states, colder in others — and understanding trends in new residential permits is crucial to those following the market.

Among the reasons:

They are a leading indicator. Since permit issuance is the first step in any new residential construction project, the Building Permits Survey (BPS) data serve as a leading/early indicator of future residential construction activity.

They are reliable. Response rates for the BPS are quite high, there is no sampling error in the estimates, and average revisions to the data are relatively low.

They are detailed. BPS is our most detailed source of construction estimates, providing monthly data with complete coverage for the nation, regions, divisions, counties and places.

The new tool allows users to follow changes in data over the past few years and to drill down to more detailed data and geographic areas.

It shows a U.S. map of housing units authorized and year-over-year change based on the size and color of circles on the states of the map. By hovering over the map, users can see the amount of change with state and county historical data going back to 2010. A forthcoming visualization will show metro area data back to 2014.

The tool also provides new data for each of the nation’s 3,143 counties and shows how many single family, multi-family and total housing units were authorized in each one.

This tool arrives on the heels of the Census Bureau release of the final 2022 annual estimates of housing units authorized by building permits. The annual building permit data include estimates by nation, census region, census division, state, metropolitan area, county and permit-issuing place.

The annual BPS provides national, state, and local statistics on new, privately owned residential construction. The survey covers all places that issued building permits for privately owned residential structures. More than 99% of all privately owned residential buildings constructed are in permit-issuing places.