Home Building Geography Index (HBGI)

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 second quarter 2019 findings below, or download the data file here.

National Permit Levels of Single-Family and Multifamily

As of the second quarter of 2019, single-family permit activity, adjusted for population, registered at 56% of the 2003 first quarter level. This share of single-family permit activity decreased from the first quarter of 2019, where it rounded to 57% of the 2003 first quarter level.

Additionally, multifamily permit activity, adjusted for population was at 99% of the first quarter of 2003 level. This remained unchanged from the 2019 first quarter level.

2019 2nd Quarter National Permit Levels
(click to view larger image)

Manufacturing Area Building Conditions

NAHB classified all counties in the U.S. into manufacturing vs. non-manufacturing. For each area, NAHB tracks 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

  • 10.2% of single-family construction for 2Q19
  • 49.8% single-family quarterly growth rate for the 2Q19
  • -1.4% single-family growth rate year-over-year (2Q19 vs 2Q18)
  • -3.8% single-family 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate


2019 2nd Quarter Map of Manufacturing Counties
(click to view larger image)

  • 6.7% of multifamily construction for 2Q19
  • 1.5% multifamily quarterly growth rate for the 2Q19
  • -13.4% multifamily year-over year growth rate (2Q19 vs 2Q18)
  • -4.1% multifamily 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate

Regional Building Growth Conditions

NAHB classified all counties in the U.S. as one of seven regional categories. For each area, NAHB tracks single-family and multifamily growth rates and market shares. These categories include:

Large Metro – core county: Highly urbanized areas

Large Metro – suburban county: Inner and outer suburbs of larger metropolitan areas

Large Metro – outlying areas: Exurbs of larger metropolitan areas

Small Metro – core county: Urbanized areas and inner suburbs of small metropolitan areas

Small Metro – outlying county: Outer suburbs of small metropolitan areas

Micro County: Small towns

Non-Metro Micro County: rural areas

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.