Wisconsin housing construction posts strong start to 2020

Homebuilders hope activity continues through COVID-19 crisis

A house under construction.
A house under construction.

The construction of single-family homes in the state showed strong growth in the first quarter of 2020 over the same period of 2019 — a good sign not only for homebuilders but the entire economy, according to the Wisconsin Builders Association.

According to state Department of Safety and Professional Services data, 1,941 single-family home building permits were issued in the state in 2020. That’s a 20% increase over the 1,613 permits issued in the first quarter of last year.

“This (20%) increase in new home permits is great news for the homebuilding industry and economy overall,” WBA executive director Brad Boycks said in a statement. “While time will tell the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fact that we had a strong start to the year is encouraging not only for construction companies, but for lenders, insurers, interior designers, retail, and all other industries that see benefits from new home construction.”

WBA officials noted that the homebuilding industry has long been a marker for economic strength. Construction activity has been allowed to continue during state-mandated shutdowns due to the viral outbreak.

“We are hopeful that construction on homes will continue by owner choice even through the hardships we’re facing now,” WBA president Jeff Dorner said in a statement. “We saw steady permit pulling and building through the spring and summer of 2019 and are hopeful to see the same type of growth this year thanks to construction being exempt from shutdown orders.”

WBA is a professional trade group comprised of 21 local associations. It represents the interests of 4,000 members of the homebuilding industry in Wisconsin.

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Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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