Orlando area issues more housing construction permits than other Florida metros. Here's why.

This year, Central Florida has had more housing construction permits issued than the state’s three other major metro areas.

That’s according to ongoing housing data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Below is a chart representing the new private housing unit permits in metro Orlando every month since 1988.

While there was a dip in the number of permits in April 2022 after the Federal Reserve initially started hiking interest rates the prior month, the number has almost recovered.

Why this matters: There is more demand for housing than the available supply, driving up the costs to buy or rent a home. That can make it more difficult for companies to recruit new employees and also may make it more difficult for the area to attract more companies to move here.

For the first five months of 2023, metro Orlando has issued 10,596 housing construction permits. Statewide. there were 78,310 permits in the first five months.

Here’s a look at each major metro’s share of Florida’s total permits versus the share of each metro’s population.

  • Orlando: 10,596 permits issued in the first five months of 2023 | 14.07% of Florida’s 78,310 permits | 12.43% of Florida’s 22.2 million population in 2022
  • Tampa: 10,191 | 13.24% | 14.79%
  • Miami: 9,394 | 12% | 27.6%
  • Jacksonville: 8,254 | 10.54% | 7.53%

Both Orlando and Jacksonville have a larger percentage of Florida’s permits relative to their percentage of the state’s population.

Even with the largest volume of permits, Orlando struggles with home affordability. Last week OBJ reported that home affordability has not been this low since 2007.

The reason behind Orlando’s higher volume of permits? Simply that people want to live here. Of Central Florida’s six counties, four were among the top 15 growth areas in Florida between 2020-2022: Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Brevard counties. Below is a chart of Florida counties by population growth from 2020 to 2022.

Miami has suffered from population loss and likely has less housing demand.

Methodology and explanation

Data comes from reports sent to the U.S. Census Bureau via a survey from local building permit officials. While the numbers give a general idea of the new housing being added to an area, not all permits turn into housing, so the data is an indicator of construction activity rather than the total new construction in the area.

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