Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Whither the single family home (in Pittsburgh)?

Just a curious time series if you have not seen it. Take a look at the time series for building permits for single unit homes across the Pittsburgh MSA.


To be clear, this is for building permits issued only for single unit homes, not building permits overall. Still, something seemingly fell off the cliff for Pittsburgh at the end 2014, and has not come back. The lastest month here (August 2017) is showing 94 total single family homes being planned across the 2.35 million person Pittsburgh MSA. That works out to 4 per 100,000 in population.

It is a remarkably low number not just compared to Pittsburgh's past, but compared to other regions.  Without getting into a full benchmarking exercise, the 2.1 million person Cleveland MSA is showing 252 single unit building permits for the same month. That comes out to over 12 per 100,000 population. Both Pittsburgh and Cleveland are well below the national rate, which is still rebounding from the Great Recession. Nationally the 819K building permits in August work out to just over 250 per 100K population.

That's all I have. If anyone has a clear explanation for the Pittsburgh drop right at the beginning of 2015, either in the local housing market, or if there is something else going on in the data, I'd love to hear about it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might have something to do with "large parcel" projects - Somerset at Frick, along Crawford Street, etc. wrapping up and nothing of their scale getting underway in the interim. Hard to generate a lot of single family starts when there is not much vacant land - left with scattered, lot by lot type building.

Friday, October 27, 2017 9:16:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

That looks like some kind of data issue, maybe an error (fixed or started) or maybe a new definition.

Saturday, October 28, 2017 7:48:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

could be a data issue... but one hypothesis goes with the earlier comment and some displacement impact. That + timing correlates to slowdown in shale development...

Monday, October 30, 2017 12:12:00 PM  
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Wednesday, November 01, 2017 1:39:00 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

I'm tempted to suggest something about changes at the City's permitting desk, but I don't see how the effect could possibly be that big: I'd bet money that the City's share of SFH is lower than its population share, so even if a reporting fluke eliminated all City houses from listing, it wouldn't add up to 30%, let alone the 70% drop shown here.

I can't imagine any real world explanation, but I also don't know FRED's data sources.

Monday, November 06, 2017 2:39:00 PM  

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