Denver’s rate for permitting new housing units ranks 10th among the nation’s 50 largest metros

2 min. read
Cranes sway in the wind, April 17, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

If we're just looking at the numbers, Denver is doing well at building -- or at least permitting -- new housing as its economy rebounds following the great recession that ushered out the first decade of this century.

The online real estate company Apartment List looked at the data on housing permits issued and found that between 2008 and 2018, Denver permitted 5.1 new housing units per 1,000 residents and added 8.6 jobs for every 1,000 residents. That was 1.7 jobs for every new housing unit in the region, better than San Francisco was doing at 3.45 jobs per new housing unit. Markets that add more than two jobs per permit are seen as undersupplied, according to Apartment List. Denver's permitting rate placed it 10th among the nation's 50 largest metros.

But as observers of the Denver market have noted, too many residents find the new housing unaffordable. It's not just Denver.

Generally, Apartment List economist Chris Salviati wrote in a report on the data analysis, "due to high construction costs -- for land, labor, materials, and regulatory costs -- developers build larger properties at luxury price points in order to achieve economies of scale and ensure that projects prove profitable."

Apartment List also found that across the United States the total number of new housing units permitted was 38.2 percent below the pre-recession peak. Metro Denver also has not reached its pre-recession permitting highs.

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