Home Building Geography Index (HBGI)

The Home Building Geography Index (HBGI), formerly the Leading Markets Index (LMI), is a quarterly measurement of building conditions across the country with a focus on regional trends and economic geography. The index uses building permit data to track the pulse of residential construction growth in various submarkets.

Each quarter, a new economic geography measurement is added to the HGBI to illustrate single-family and multifamily construction trends. For example, the HBGI answers such questions as: What is the growth rate of single-family construction in the exurbs? And, is home construction expanding in manufacturing areas of the U.S.?

View the latest HBGI data in the sections below, or download this spreadsheet

National Permit Levels of Single-Family and Multifamily

As of the first quarter of 2019, single-family permit activity, adjusted for population, registered at 57% of the 2003 first quarter level. This share of single-family permit activity remained unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2018, where it rounded to 57% of the 2003 first quarter level, as well. 

Additionally, multifamily permit activity, adjusted for population was at 99% of the first quarter of 2003 level. This was a significant increase from the 2018 fourth quarter level since it was then at 96% of the first quarter of 2003 level.   

Line graph showing single-family vs. multifamily construction by year from 2003-2018.
(click to view larger image)

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The HBGI is the successor to the Leading Market Index (LMI), for which tracking is no longer maintained.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.