Connecticut new housing activity for July the highest in years

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The number of new housing permits issued in Connecticut communities in July rose 10.2% over the same period in 2019, officials with the state Department of Economic and Community Development said.

There were 420 new housing units issued permits last month, the new housing industry's best showing in any July since 2015. Over the first seven months of this year, there have been 2,606 units issued permits, an increase of 5% over the same period in 2019.

New Haven led all of the 104 communities reporting in July with 45 new units issued permits, followed by Westport with 36.

Over the first seven months of this year, New Haven officials have issued new housing permits for 735 units. That's compared to 277 units issued permits through the first seven months of 2019.

The bulk of the new housing construction was for apartments, according to the data supplied by the DECD. Of the total number of new housing permits issued, nearly 58% were for developments with five or more units.

Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research for New Haven-based DataCore Partners, said "housing market fundamentals have been surprisingly solid," especially given the impact that the coronavirus has had on the rest of the state's economy.

"Connecticut has seen an uptick in demand temporarily due to COVID-19," Klepper-Smith said. "That's because in this kind of environment, home means everything."

New housing activity is considered a key economic indicator because of the number of jobs associated with it as well as the need to purchase durable goods to go into the homes. Examples of durable consumer goods are appliances, home and office furnishings, lawn and garden equipment and consumer electronics.

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