Home Building Geography Index (HBGI)

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The Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) is a quarterly measurement of building conditions across the country and uses county-level information about single- and multifamily permits to gauge housing construction growth in various submarkets.

The count of building permits helps illustrate residential construction’s current production levels. The index is measured as the population-adjusted level of permits, benchmarked against 2003 production levels. The population adjustment modifies the benchmark amount of production necessary to keep up with a changing number of households.

View the HBGI fourth quarter 2019 findings below, or download the data file.

National Permit Levels of Single-Family and Multifamily

As of the fourth quarter of 2019, single-family permit activity, adjusted for population, registered at 58% of the 2003 first quarter level. This share of single-family permit activity increased from the third quarter of 2019, where it rounded to 57% of the 2003 first quarter level.

Additionally, multifamily permit activity, adjusted for population was at 109% of the first quarter of 2003 level. This is a steep increase from the 2019 third quarter level.

Single Family and Multifamily Construction

Single Family Multifamily Construction

Red / Blue County Building Conditions

Beginning with the fourth quarter of 2019, NAHB classified all the counties in the United States based on the 2016 presidential candidate vote totals. NAHB defines “red counties” as ones in which President Donald Trump garnered the most votes and “blue counties” as ones in which then-Senator Hillary Clinton garnered the most votes.

Red Counties

Total population 155,251,992; 48.7% of total U.S. population

  • 60.9% of single-family construction for 4Q19
  • -10.3% single-family quarterly growth rate for the 4Q19
  • 10.3% single-family year-over-year growth rate (4Q19 vs 4Q18)
  • 1.7% single-family 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate
Red Counties
  • 36.4% of multifamily construction for 4Q19
  • 1.6% multifamily quarterly growth rate for the 4Q19
  • 38.7% multifamily year-over year growth rate (4Q19 vs 4Q18)
  • 21.4% multifamily 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate

Blue Counties

Total population 163,291,816; 51.3% of total U.S. population

  • 63.6% of multifamily construction for 4Q19
  • 7.4% multifamily quarterly growth rate for the 4Q19
  • 8.5% multifamily year-over-year growth rate (4Q19 vs 4Q18)
  • 7.6% multifamily 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate
Map of Blue Counties
  • 39.1% of single-family construction for 4Q19
  • -7.4% single-family quarterly growth rate for the 4Q19
  • 10.2% single-family year-over year growth rate (4Q19 vs 4Q18)
  • -1.2% single-family 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate

Millennial Area Building Conditions

Beginning with the third quarter of 2019, NAHB classified the top quartile of counties in the U.S. based on the share of Millennials. These are counties with 26% or more of local population consisting of Millennials. NAHB tracked single-family and multifamily growth rates (not seasonally adjusted) and market shares for these areas, as well as the remaining 75% of counties.

Millennial Areas

Total population 202,280,704; 61.8% of total U.S. population

  • 58.9% of single-family construction for 4Q19
  • -8.0% single-family quarterly growth rate for the 4Q19
  • 11.3% single-family year-over-year growth rate (4Q19 vs 4Q18)
  • 0.5% single-family 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate
Map of Millenial Counties
  • 78.2% of multifamily construction for 4Q19
  • 5.0% multifamily quarterly growth rate for the 4Q19
  • 8.5% multifamily year-over year growth rate (4Q19 vs 4Q18)
  • 7.2% multifamily 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate

Manufacturing Area Building Conditions

From the second quarter of 2019, NAHB classified all counties in the U.S. into manufacturing vs. non-manufacturing, based on the share of local employment associated with the manufacturing sector. For each area, NAHB tracked single-family and multifamily growth rates (not seasonally adjusted) and market shares.

Manufacturing Areas

Total population 43,550,904; 13.7% of total U.S. population

  • 10.0% of single-family construction for 4Q19
  • -15.4% single-family quarterly growth rate for the 4Q19
  • 3.8% single-family year-over-year growth rate (4Q19 vs 4Q18)
  • -1.6% single-family 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate
Map of Manufacturing Counties
  • 6.5% of multifamily construction for 4Q19
  • 5.7% multifamily quarterly growth rate for the 4Q19
  • 19.6% multifamily year-over year growth rate (4Q19 vs 4Q18)
  • 5.6% multifamily 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate

The Home Building Geography Index is the successor to the Leading Market Index (LMI), whose tracking is no longer maintained. The LMI used single-family housing permits, employment, and home prices to measure proximity to a normal economic and housing market. It was calculated for 337 local markets, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), as well as the entire country. View an archive of LMI data with its original methodology.

Regional Building Growth Conditions

Starting with the first quarter of 2019, when the Home Building Geography Index was first unveiled, NAHB classified all counties in the U.S. as one of seven regional categories based on population density and regional location. For each area, NAHB tracked single-family and multifamily growth rates (not seasonally adjusted) and market shares. These categories include: