Orlando in top 10 for 2012 housing starts

Orlando ranked in the top 10 nationally last year for its rate of residential-construction starts.

The four-county metropolitan area tied with Jacksonville for eighth place, with 11.3 residential permits for every 1,000 housing units in the area. Orlando and Jacksonville were the only Florida cities to make the Top 10. Those two cities also had the same proportion of multifamily permits, which accounted for 38 percent of all residential building in those locales during 2012.

Last year generated near-record levels of multifamily construction nationally, with that sector accounting for 31 percent of all residential construction — the highest share in two decades. Historically, construction of apartments, town homes and condos constitutes about 20 percent of the residential-construction mix, with single-family homes claiming the lion’s share.

Despite the boost in housing starts, both Metro Orlando and the U.S. last year remained 43 percent below historic levels dating back to 1990. “Orlando had a lot of construction in 2012, relative to other metros, but still fell far short of the typical high level of construction activity for Orlando,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia chief economist. “Over the past 20 years, Orlando has had one of the highest rates of construction activity in the country.”

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