WASHINGTON - For the second year in a row, Flagler County, Fla., had the highest rate of growth in the number of housing units of any county in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

The estimates cover July 1, 2004, to July 1, 2005, and show that Flagler's housing stock increased by 14.8 percent, or more than 5,000 units. Flagler had added more than 4,000 housing units a year earlier. Three other Florida counties made the top 10 with the highest rate of growth in housing stock: Sumter (ranking second), Osceola (fourth), and St. Lucie (ninth). The remainder of the top 10 consisted of Pinal, Ariz. (third); Franklin, Wash. (fifth); Culpeper, Va. (sixth); Washington, Utah (seventh); Kendall, Ill. (eighth); and Rockwall, Texas (10th).

The United States had an estimated 124.5 million housing units as of July 1, 2005, representing an increase of 1.8 million, or 1.5 percent, since July 1, 2004.

Maricopa (Phoenix), Ariz., was the biggest numerical gainer among counties, adding 52,000 homes over the period. It was followed by Clark County (Las Vegas), Nev., and Harris County (Houston), Texas, which gained 35,000 and 34,000 units, respectively.

At the state level, four of the five states that had the most rapid housing growth are located in the West: Nevada (first with a growth rate of 4.4 percent), Arizona (second at 3.5 percent), Florida (third at 3.1 percent), Idaho (fourth at 2.9 percent), and Utah (fifth at 2.9 percent). Nevada's growth rate was almost three times faster than housing unit growth for the nation as a whole.

Florida topped the list of the states adding the highest number of housing units, gaining 247,000 homes over the period. Following Florida were California (182,000), Texas (179,000), Georgia (98,000), and Arizona (87,000).

Publication date: 09/04/2006