New housing permits in Connecticut plunge during April

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New housing activity in Connecticut took a precipitous decline last month, with the number of permits issued around the state down 65.4% from April 2019, according to the Department of Economic and Community Development.

The 212 housing units issued by 104 towns across the state was the fewest issued in any April since 2017. There have been 1,368 units issued permits during the first four months of this year, a 9.5% decline from the number issued during the same period in 2019.

More than half of the units issued permits in April were for single-family homes.

The city of New Haven had the largest amount of new housing activity for the month, with permits issued for 44 housing units. Over the first four months of this year, New Haven issued housing permits for 381 units, a 92.4% increase over the same period in 2019.

Only three other communities out of the 104 reporting had permit activity in double digits. Danbury led Fairfield County with 13 units issued new housing permits, followed by Newtown and Woodbury with 12 each.

Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research for New Haven-based DataCore Partners, said the April permit data is misleading in terms of asessing the health of new housing construction in the state.

"It (April) was basically your first month with local government offices closed or operating under certain limitations," Klepper-Smith said. "My sense is this has more to do with people not being able to file their paperwork."

It is likely that there will a tremendous amount of volatility in new housing construction data over the next several months, he said. Klepper-Smith said a better measure of where that economic indicator is headed will come at the end of summer when economists are able to look back at what has happened as the state's economy starts to return to normal.

The new housing market is Connecticut will benefit from low interest rates as well as the interest that New Yorkers have shown in buying homes in Fairfield County, he said.

"What we have right now is a series of pushes and pulls," Klepper-Smith said.

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