Local Residential Construction Still Struggling

This month was the slowest April for local residential construction in at least the last five years, but a local builders association hopes to see a rebound in single-family home construction.

Residential construction in the Twin Cities remains sluggish, according to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities' (BATC) Keystone Report, which was released on Friday.

In April, there were 203 permits issued for a total of 230 units, down 33 percent and 38 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2010. In fact, it was the slowest April for local residential construction in at least the last five years, according to the report.

Year-to-date, there have been 758 permits issued for a total of 851 units-lower than the number of permitted units during the first four months of any of the past five years.

Construction of single-family homes remains stable, according to the BATC, but there has been “almost no large multi-family construction in the region” so far this year. Only 32 of the permits in April were for multi-family projects that include more than 17 units per building.

BATC President Rich Riemersma said in a statement that his organization expected construction to be down in the first quarter of 2011 versus the beginning of 2010 because of last spring's federal homebuyer tax credits.

“But while new housing nationally is expected to remain down, we have hopes that the Twin Cities will catch up and surpass last year in single-family construction,” Riemersma said.

The BATC records growth by units in addition to permits because projects like condos and townhomes often include multiple units but require only one building permit.

Maple Grove saw the most building activity in April with 28 permitted units. Blaine followed closely with 22 units, trailed by Plymouth (16), Minneapolis (15), and Woodbury (13).

The BATC is an association that includes builders, remodelers, subcontractors, suppliers, and other professionals who support the building industry. Members subscribe to a defined code of ethics, and all builders agree to meet minimum performance standards for construction and business practices.