Residential building permits in Arizona hit 16 year high

The number of residential building permits has hit a peak, and given the newcomers to the state of Arizona, it's no surprise.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 2:22 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The number of residential building permits authorized in Arizona just reached the highest level since May 2006, 3 On Your Side has learned. According to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, 6,900 residential building permits were issued in the state in March 2022. It is an increase of 976 permits compared to February 2022 and an increase of 1,893 permits compared to March 2021, representing a 38% jump.

“There is this real demand for housing that is fueling the building around the state,” said Doug Walls, the labor market information director for the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity. He calls the one month, 16.5% jump from February to March “impressive” but says growth in residential building projects, both single-family homes and apartments, has been increasing for more than a decade.

“One thing that I think is on everybody’s mind is the building that had gone on in early 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, and questions of is that what we’re returning to? And I would say no, not in the least. The reason for that is looking at other indicators; we saw a lot of speculative buying back in the early 2000s. Now we’re seeing homeownership on the rise, so that means the homes that are being built are being occupied,” Walls said. “We’re also seeing rental vacancies at an all-time low, and so there is demand for those who aren’t looking to purchase.”

The spike in authorized building permits comes as Arizona’s unemployment rate ticked down to 3.2% in April.