Last year’s housing permits soared to 1.6 million, an 11% increase over the 1997 total. Of that 1.6 million, single-family permits reached 1,183,720, a gain of 12%, while multifamily permits totaled 420,590, up 9%.

There are regional variances within that national total.

The big winner was the South, which charted 727,130 permits, a gain of 14%, followed by the Northeast (157,230, up 11%), the West (396,790, up 10%), and the Midwest (333,160, up 8%).

Markets within each region had some significant gains.

The South: Florida charted 147,640, up 11%. Key increases were reported for Orlando (21,290, up 21%), Tampa (18,900, up 11%), and West Palm Beach (8,980, up 8%).

Atlanta continued its spectacular growth with 57,480 permits, up 16%. Charlotte, N.C., was strong with 20,007 permits, up 7%, along with Raleigh (18,780, up 11%). Nashville charted 14,030 permits, up 14%.

Dallas continued its strong comeback with just under 40,000 permits, a gain of 19%, as did Houston with 42,800, up a whopping 46%. Texas itself was strong with 154,800 permits, up 25%.

The Northeast: This region represented about 10% of the national permit total. Some of the states here scored strong, although from a smaller base.

Connecticut, with 12,630 permits, was up 23%, while New Jersey issued 30,360 permits, up 11%. New York was up 17% with 38,460 permits. And Pennsylvania showed a 4% increase with 40,890 permits.

The West: Arizona’s key city, Phoenix, was up 10% with 47,889 permits, a number that represents about three-quarters of the state’s permits. Colorado was similarly strong with 49,500 permits, up 16%. Nevada, after years of double-digit gains, was up 5% with 36,570 permits.

California added to its booming real estate market with 123,650 permits, up 13%.

A rare decline was reported in Oregon, which was down 7% (25,280 permits). And Seattle issued just under 22,000 permits, up 22%.

The Midwest: Illinois had a relatively low 1% gain (47,210). Next door, Indiana (with 40,660 permits) was up 12%. Detroit continued a gain that began earlier in the 90s with 20,930 permits, up 16%.

A 7% increase was charted in Ohio with 49,360 permits. Minnesota’s permits jumped by 19% to 30,250, while Nebraska saw a 5% skid to 9,700.