North Texas is booming. Through April, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area had more housing starts this year than any other place in the country, according to U.S. Census data, a solid 12 percent above second-place Houston.
Most of the new units under construction (76 percent) are being built outside of the city of Dallas, and most of them (58 percent) are single-family, which is another way of saying that an ever-increasing share of the region's population is residing in sprawling subdivisions planted on virgin land in Celina or Little Elm.
Not that the city of Dallas is totally missing out. The city's 24-percent share of new units (the vast majority of which are apartments or condos) is larger than its 19-percent share of the region's population, which suggests that, for the moment at least, Dallas is starting to regain some of the political and economic clout that's been eroded by a half century of suburbanization.
Of course, how much of the construction boom you see depends entirely on what part of Dallas you happen to live in. An analysis of city building permits filed between August of 2011 and February of 2016 shows that the city's growth, as always, is oriented solidly north.
The above maps show the location of building permits issued for new multi-family construction since August of 2011. The left panel shows the density of projects by ZIP code. (Note that the density is based on the number of building permits rather than the number of projects on the assumption that the number of permits gives a rough approximation of a project's size, which isn't otherwise discernible from the information on the city's data portal.) On the right is the address and distribution of projects with the size of each dot based on the number of permits per project.
The bulk of the development, as casual observation would suggest, is taking place in and around the city center. The 75201 ZIP code, which encompasses most of downtown and about half of Uptown, saw the most units. The 75204 ZIP code, which encompasses the other half of Uptown and Old East Dallas, was a close second followed by 75219 (Oak Lawn) and 75206 (Greenville Avenue corridor from Old East Dallas to Lake Highlands). The random blobs near Coppell represent the city-subsidized Cypress Waters development. The missing chunks of Dallas are ZIP codes with no multi-family development.
For single-family homes, the picture is different, with most of the building permits issued in the tear-down meccas of Preston Hollow and Lakewood.
Not all of Dallas' new single-family development is tear-downs, however. Much of the red in southern Dallas represents greenfield development in places like Mountain Creek and Kleberg, which accounts for the fifth most single-family home starts in the city. Construction there, as in the rest of the single-family market, has taken off since 2012:
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