HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-38
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Friday
Or contact your local HUD officeFebruary 25, 2000


WASHINGTON - New and existing home sales reached their highest level in American history in 1999, according to a report released today by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo.

The report - U.S. Housing Market Conditions 4th Quarter Report - shows that in all of 1999:

  • New home sales totaled 904,000, up 2 percent from 1998.
  • Existing home sales totaled 5,197,000, up 5 per cent from 1998.
  • Housing permits totaled 1,638,000, the highest since 1986.
  • Housing starts were also at their highest level since 1986, with 1,663,000 homes started in 1999.

"The strong economy created by Clinton Administration policies is driving up home sales and homeownership, benefiting families across the nation," Cuomo said.

In January, Cuomo announced that the homeownership rate also hit a record high in 1999. Last year 66.8 percent of American households owned their own homes in 1999 - a higher percentage than in any year in our nation's history.

As a result of the rising homeownership rate and the nation's growing population, a total of 70.1 million families owned homes in 1999. There were 8.7 million more homeowners at the end of 1999 than when President Clinton took office in 1993.

U.S. Housing Market Conditions collects data from the housing, real estate and primary and secondary mortgage markets. HUD field economists gather data from housing organizations such as the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Realtors®, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Other data come from HUD and the Commerce Department.

Regional market highlights for 1999 include:

  • Single-family building permit activity was up in every region but the Northwest.
  • Existing home sales were up 14 percent in New Jersey and 12 percent in Washington DC.
  • Residential building permit activity in New York State totaled 41,517 units in 1999, up 8 percent from a year earlier, with substantial increases in single-family permit activity in Buffalo, New York City and Rochester.
  • In the Mid-Atlantic region, home sales activity was up 6 percent in 1999 to 468,400 homes. The greatest increase was 11 percent in Maryland, followed by 10 percent in Virginia. The thriving economy in Northern Virginia continued to stimulate housing demand in Washington, DC. Wilmington, Delaware/ Newark, Maryland is the featured community for this region in the HUD report.
  • For the Southeast region, residential building activity set a new record in 1999. Permits were issued for almost 465,600 units. Existing home sales in the Southeast grew by 10 percent from last year to 1,356,800 homes. Atlanta, Georgia is the featured city for this region.
  • Home sales and construction in the Midwest region was relatively strong. Single-family building permit activity totaled more than 206,000 homes, with a 6 percent increase over 1998. Sales in Illinois and Indiana increased the most, up 3.7 and 4.8 percent respectively. Detroit-Ann Arbor, Michigan is the featured area for this region.
  • In the Southwest region, home sales totaled 14, 475 units in 1999, up 10 percent from the previous year. The spotlight in this region is on Dallas- Forth Worth, Texas.
  • In the Great Plains region, the pace of home-building continued to increase during 1999. Single family permits totaled 47,020 homes, a 4 percent increase over 1998. Iowa recorded the highest percentage increase, with an 11 percent gain. The HUD report spotlights St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois.
  • For the Rocky Mountain region, despite a recent slowing of the economy in this area, existing home sales in Denver continued to climb, up 11 percent from last year. Salt Lake City, Utah is the region's spotlighted community in the HUD report.
  • In the Pacific region, regional housing production hit its highest level in a decade. Single family permit activity totaled 179,689 homes, up 5 percent over 1998. In Hawaii, improving sales supported a 14 percent increase in single family permit activity. Existing home sales in California set a record with a 7 percent increase over 1998. The report spotlights Phoenix, Arizona.
  • In the Northwest region, home sales in Washington State were up 10 percent from 1998. Home values in Alaska have continued to increase at the rate of 2 to 4 percent annually for the past ten years. Portland, Oregon/Vancouver Washington is the spotlighted community.
U.S. Housing Market Conditions is available on the Internet at

Content Archived: December 13, 2009