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Across the country, there are signs of life in the real estate market as requests for building permits once again begin to pick up. So far this increase is more of a trickle than a flood, but the trend is nevertheless encouraging. For the most part, the affected markets can point to a specific reason behind the uptick, such as it being a military base, campus town, major energy town, state capital, site of a natural disaster, or a combination of all of the above. The market with the greatest increase in building permits was Lake Charles, La., which has been battered by two major hurricanes since 2005. And while half of the top 20 markets on this list saw positive growth, the other half continued to post negative gains. The reason they were included is that they still outperformed every other market in the country.
Editor's Note: The metropolitan statistical areas were ranked based on the change in building permits in the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period a year earlier. The list was limited to metros with at least 500 permits during the six-month period, and all permits were included, such as those for single-family homes and apartment complexes. The permit data were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau. The second-quarter median home price and home price change came from the National Association of Realtors, except data for the Huntsville, Ala., metro, which came from the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama and for Jacksonville, N.C.; Augusta-Richmond County; and Fayetteville, N.C., which came from Zillow.com.
Source: Hanley Wood Market Intelligence