ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A burst of activity in the final months of the year pushed single-family home construction in 2015 to its highest level in six years in the Albuquerque metro area, according to Datatraq.
Building permits were issued for 1,645 single-family homes, a 4.4 percent increase from 1,576 homes in 2014 and the highest permit count since 1,669 were issued in 2009. Home building has been in a slow recovery mode in the metro since hitting bottom in 2011.
After lagging the 2014 pace for much of the year, 2015 finished with 390 building permits in the fourth quarter, up from 278 in the final quarter of 2014 and 264 in the final quarter of 2013. The 390 permits was the best showing for a fourth quarter since 403 permits were issued in the final three months of 2009.
As a rule, permit activity for single-family homes begins to taper off toward the end of the year before picking back up, usually by March.
“I think the market is thawing out,” said John Garcia of HBA of Central New Mexico, the local home builders group. “The fourth quarter came in positive. That’s a good sign of where things are headed. I think consumer confidence is driving it. Builders are ready for it.”
The 1,645 homes permitted in 2015 is less than half the average of about 4,000 permitted each year in the 1990s, a construction pace that some observers believe would represent a healthy market today. Home building peaked at 9,445 permits in 2005, the height of the housing bubble, and bottomed out at 1,192 permits in 2011.