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Building permits reflect building boom

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Watching the number of building permits issued by cities is a sure way to track construction. MPR News reports that indicator in Minneapolis showed the state's largest city has recovered from the construction slowdown of the recession, issuing 12,100 building permits in 2013. That reflects a record value of $1.21 billion.

The Star Tribune said it's the second year in a row that permits in the city exceeded the $1 billion mark, and it was double the amount spent just three years ago. The newspaper story indicated the push for more rental housing has driven the boom, with demand for upscale apartment units particularly high in the Uptown, North Loop and University of Minnesota neighborhoods.

The numbers are downright dramatic. Data from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities showed that Minneapolis issued permits for more than 3,500 housing units in 2013, up from just 361 permitted housing units in 2008. Statewide, Maple Grove came in second, issuing 608 building permits in 2013.

Jeremy Hanson Willis, Minneapolis’ director of community planning and economic development, told the newspaper the strong construction market is generating thousands of jobs, with more on the way. Hanson Willis said he expects a record-setting 2014, thanks to several big commercial projects like the new Vikings stadium and the Wells Fargo towers.

Earlier this week, the Star Tribune noted evidence that the new housing units are needed. The newspaper reported that the Twin Cities was among the tightest rental markets in the nation in December. In a quarterly survey, Reis, a New York real estate research firm, said the vacancy rate in the Twin Cities the 7th-highest in the nation. The vacancy rate stood at 2.8 percent. The survey also found the average rent in the area rose by 0.9 percent to $1,017.

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