U.S. Cities Investing the Most and Least in Housing

Building a new home
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This story originally appeared on Porch.

While development of single-family homes has trended down for decades, the COVID-19 outbreak has renewed their appeal.

The Census Bureau recently reported that new single-family housing units authorized by building permits grew 17% between June and July 2020.

Likewise, sales of new single-family homes in July 2020 were 13.9% higher than in June 2020, and 36.3% higher than in July 2019.

As homebuyers leave densely populated areas, the growing interest in single-family homes may usher in a new wave of low-density housing development.

While many American cities are known for high-density living, others offer more space and can accommodate a larger proportion of single-family homes.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permits Survey. The survey includes new housing projects authorized by building permits.

To identify the locations investing the most in single-family homes, Porch calculated the share of all 2019 building permits that were for one-unit projects — what the Census Bureau considers to be single-family homes. This includes fully detached units, semidetached units, row houses and townhouses.

Locations were ordered by the share of new housing units that were single-family homes in 2019. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater number of single-family homes authorized by building permits was ranked higher. We also included statistics on existing single-family homes (detached and attached), which come from the 2018 American Community Survey one-year estimates.

Following are the large metros investing the most in single-family homes, followed by those investing the least.

Metros investing the most:

15. St. Louis

Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
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  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 73.4%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 73.6%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 5,179
  • Total new housing units (2019): 7,054

14. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia
JoMo333 / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 73.5%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 70.5%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 4,345
  • Total new housing units (2019): 5,908

13. Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio
Stephanie A Sellers / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 74.5%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 69.9%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 4,488
  • Total new housing units (2019): 6,023

12. Sacramento, California

Sacramento, California
Ed Gavryush / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 76.2%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 73.5%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 7,184
  • Total new housing units (2019): 9,431

11. Riverside, California

Riverside, California at night
MattGush / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 76.4%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 73.7%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 11,147
  • Total new housing units (2019): 14,599

10. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 77.7%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 57.6%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 1,592
  • Total new housing units (2019): 2,048

9. Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 78.9%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 67.3%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 11,583
  • Total new housing units (2019): 14,687

8. Atlanta

Atlanta cityscape
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 80%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 72.1%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 26,261
  • Total new housing units (2019): 32,836

7. New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana at night
f11 photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 80.5%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 67.1%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 3,241
  • Total new housing units (2019): 4,026

6. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson
Chris Rubino / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 80.9%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 67.4%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 3,490
  • Total new housing units (2019): 4,313

5. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Sharkshock / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 83.6%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 71%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 11,142
  • Total new housing units (2019): 13,320

4. Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio
Pedro Gutierrez / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 85.2%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 70.7%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 2,584
  • Total new housing units (2019): 3,032

3. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee
Steven Frame / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 90.3%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 72.5%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 3,319
  • Total new housing units (2019): 3,674

2. Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City skyline
Natalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 90.3%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 74.2%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 5,924
  • Total new housing units (2019): 6,557

1. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 95.7%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 71.6%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 3,063
  • Total new housing units (2019): 3,202

Metros investing the least:

15. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City
wallace-weeks / Shutterstock.com

  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 51.5%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 75.6%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 4,811
  • Total new housing units (2019): 9,347

14. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.
Christian Hinkle / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 48.4%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 65.3%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 12,977
  • Total new housing units (2019): 26,804

13. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon waterfront
Josemaria Toscano / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 45.7%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 66.3%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 7,688
  • Total new housing units (2019): 16,815

12. Philadelphia

Philadelphia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 44.6%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 73.7%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 6,963
  • Total new housing units (2019): 15,607

11. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, Utah
Rigucci / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 44.6%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 69.6%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 4,760
  • Total new housing units (2019): 10,680

10. Minneapolis

Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis
Roger Siljander / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 42.9%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 70.8%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 9,610
  • Total new housing units (2019): 22,414

9. Chicago

Chicago with clouds
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 42%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 59.5%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 7,598
  • Total new housing units (2019): 18,085

8. San Jose, California

San Jose, California
mTaira / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 41.8%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 62.9%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 2,603
  • Total new housing units (2019): 6,230

7. San Diego

Karl Sonnenberg / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 36.7%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 60%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 3,019
  • Total new housing units (2019): 8,216

6. Miami

Brightly colored Miami home.
SergeevDen / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 35%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 51%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 7,241
  • Total new housing units (2019): 20,688

5. Seattle

Seattle skyline
Checubus / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 32.8%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 62.7%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 8,737
  • Total new housing units (2019): 26,599

4. Los Angeles

Los Angeles neighborhood.
Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 30.5%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 56.4%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 9,306
  • Total new housing units (2019): 30,554

3. San Francisco

Homes in San Francisco, California
Sergey Novikov / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 29.4%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 58.8%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 4,076
  • Total new housing units (2019): 13,881

2. Boston

Boston
Pitchakorn Niruntasukrat / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 28.5%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 53%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 4,299
  • Total new housing units (2019): 15,088

1. New York

NYC New York City skyline at night
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of new housing units that are single-family homes (2019): 18.1%
  • Share of existing housing units that are single-family homes: 43.2%
  • Total new single-family homes (2019): 11,072
  • Total new housing units (2019): 61,168

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