New housing permits in Connecticut rise 13.7% in January
The number of new housing permits issued in Connecticut communities surged by 13.7% last month compared to January 2019, according to data released by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.
There were 224 new housing units issued permits by 104 Connecticut communities. Granby had the highest new housing permit activity last month, with 26 new units approved.
Milford led New Haven County in new housing activity in January with 20 units. New Haven had 16 new units issued permits last month.
More than half of the new housing units issued permits in January were for single-family homes.
Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research for New Haven-based DataCore Partners, said while the January new housing permit numbers "are a good start" to the 2020 new housing market, it was too soon to make any predictions about this key economic indicator.
"I don't expect it to continue, with interest rates rising and with the coronavirus providing an exogenous shock to the economy," Klepper-Smith said.
Exogenous refers to external forces, he said. Taken in the context of the Connecticut and national economy, he said fears of the virus spreading could sap consumer confidence, which in turn could make developers scale back their building plans.
New housing activity is consider 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 as well as consumer electronics.
The January gains in new housing construction come on the heels of a robust 2019 for the sector. There were 5,097 new housing units issued permits last year, the best performance for the sector since 2017.