Michigan Builders Say Housing Demand Strong & Trending Upward

Voicing cautious optimism following a tough spring, the head of the Home Builders Association of Michigan says demand for new housing remains strong and is trending upward.

Bob Filka is the CEO of HBAM, and he points to a Michigan housing industry that is slowly recovering from the economic decline that started earlier this year. A total of 1,587 permits for new single-family housing were issued through June of 2020 statewide compared to 1,547 through June of 2019. However, a total of 6,046 single-family home permits have been issued across Michigan from January through June 2020, which is still less than the 7,134 permits that were issued during the same time period in 2019.

Filka says, “We are cautiously optimistic regarding an increase in June permit numbers compared to last year,” and adds, “It is encouraging that despite an economic downturn, labor shortages and regulatory challenges, home construction permits continue to rise. The fact that increasing permits exceed our forecast is a further reason for optimism.”

The HBA of Michigan has long used an econometric model to provide forecasts of new home permit activity expected across the state. With the advent of COVID-19, that model had to undergo adjustment. Based on outlooks by national economists, a ‘v-shaped’ factor was incorporated into the forecasting model which presumed a four-month impact period, beginning in March, before returning to a seasonal trend in July.

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Filka notes, “Despite the statewide shutdown which had a big impact on our industry, the drop in permits for March through May was not as deep as we expected.”

With less than five months of the year remaining, the HBA is now forecasting that a total of 13,556 permits will be issued for calendar year 2020. Moving forward, their forecast indicates a return to normal trends by July, with the expected seasonal slowdown in late Fall of 2020.

HBAM has issued a proposed action plan to aggressively attack challenges faced by the industry. Copies of the HBAM report, “Housing Challenges Threaten Our Economic Growth—Where Will Ten Million Michiganders Live?” can be viewed at this link:


The Home Builders Association of Michigan is a professional trade association comprised of 22 local homebuilder associations around the state and their builder, subcontractor and supplier members. HBA of Michigan works to positively promote the building industry and impact legislative, regulatory and legal issues affecting housing affordability.