Southeast Michigan apartment construction up 65%

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Detroit — In what could be seen as another indicator of a Michigan recovery, in 2014 the metro region saw an increase in building permits issued over 2013.

According to a report by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), apartment construction increased by 65 percent and was responsible for the positive trend while single-family and condominium construction dropped by about 12 percent.

The SEMCOG region finished 2014 with a total of 7,855 new residential building permits issue, a 1 percent increase over 2013. Out of a total of 2,154 apartment permits, Detroit had the most at 732.

"Detroit's numbers are a testament to the renewed interest in living in or close to downtowns, especially by young professionals looking for an urban, walkable environment," said SEMCOG Executive Director Kathleen Lomako in a press release.

According to SEMCOG, the demand for multifamily/apartments was fueled by low vacancy rates in existing apartments plus gains in employment and households.

Those gains have created a demand for rentals and a preference among some groups, such as recent college graduates, to prefer the flexibility of renting over home ownership.

Other facts from the report:

■ Five of the seven counties in the region experienced positive residential construction growth in 2014 compared to 2013. In 2014 Oakland and Macomb Counties permitted the largest number of units, 2,421 and 1,814 respectively.

■ In 2014, single-family homes accounted for 64 percent of total permits issued; condominium units accounted for nine percent; and new apartment units were 27 percent of the total (increasing its share from 17 percent in 2013).

■ Median reported construction value for single-family homes was $230,700 in 2014. Total reported construction value for all residential units was $1.34 billion.

■ Detroit was the top community in the region for total new units permitted with 806. Macomb Township authorized the most single-family homes in 2014 with 389. Macomb Township has held this number-one position every year since 1996.

■ In 2014 6,424 units were demolished with 84 percent of those occurring in the city of Detroit.

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2014 Top 10 communities

Total New Units Permitted

Detroit 806

Macomb Twp. 455

Clinton Twp. 364

Lyon Twp. 363

Shelby Twp. 328

Orion Twp. 307

Ann Arbor 267

Canton Twp. 234

Oceola Twp. 230

Single Family Homes Permitted

Community County Total

Macomb Twp. 389

Lyon Twp. 349

Canton Twp. 166

Orion Twp. 149

Novi 148

Royal Oak 129

Washington Twp. 127

Oakland Twp. 126

Troy 113

Birmingham 105