WASHINGTON - The greater Atlanta area, which recorded 53,753 single-family housing permits last year, led the nation in housing activity for the 13th consecutive year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Rounding out the top 10 housing markets for single-family permits were the metropolitan areas of Phoenix with 46,591; Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., with 35,733; Houston with 33,965; Washington with 30,755; Chicago with 30,733; Las Vegas with 30,278; Dallas with 26,905; Orlando, Fla., with 22,385; and Minneapolis with 20,327, reported the Commerce Department. Total issuance of single-family permits across the country for 2003 was 1.444 million.

"We are excited to be the most active housing market in the country once again. It has been a long run," said David M. Smith, president of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and a builder/developer in the Atlanta metropolitan area. "Overall, housing demand has remained strong and the market has been vibrant, but we are seeing changes in buying activity.

"The market for higher end homes has fluctuated during the last two years, though it has been gaining strength in recent months. The first-time buyer and first-time move-up markets have not slowed since 1991," noted Smith.

Publication date: 03/22/2004