Sinking Demand Eases Broadnax’s Permit Backlog

Permit Backlog
New Home Construction | Image by David Papazian/Shutterstock

The City of Dallas saw a slowdown in residential permit applications in April.

Dallas’ building permit department — the Development Services Department (DSD) — received 133 single-family permit applications in April, nearly 70 fewer than the month before, according to the latest data from the City’s Residential Permit Activity Dashboard (RPAD).

Out of the 133 single-family permit applications submitted in April, DSD was able to issue permits on approximately 50%, RPAD data shows.

The median issuance time for these 67 applications was five days, a slight decrease compared to the eight median days in the first quarter of 2023.

Under City Manager T.C. Broadnax, the City’s permit turnaround times have climbed as high as 57 days in November 2022.

In total, DSD issued 135 single-family permits during the month of April. Of these, 114 were submitted in 2023 and 21 were submitted in a prior year.

The median turnaround time for these 135 residential permits was approximately 13 calendar days, one day sooner than in March and more than 50 days sooner than in January and February.

Development Services calculates the “median days to issue” based on the time between when initial fees are paid and when the applicant has been issued the approved plans. The calculation comprises the department’s pre-screen review, department review, and post-review stages. However, the monthly time calculations exclude applications submitted on paper rather than online.

Of the initial reviews completed in April, 83% of applications met DSD’s performance goal of 15 days or less. DSD met the initial review goal on 72 applications and missed it on 15, according to RPAD data released on May 1.

The Dallas Express reached out to DSD Director Andrew Espinoza for comment about April’s permit metrics and additional information on the end-of-the-month transition to a new building permit office but had not heard back by the publishing deadline.

DSD still had approximately 301 single-family applications remaining in its queue at the start of May. Forty-three permits are currently listed in the pre-screen review stage, 154 are in the department review stage, and 44 exist in the post-review stage, according to the residential activity dashboard. The remaining applications were on paper, and their status was not available on the permitting dashboard.

This count includes all active in-queue permits, regardless of the application’s submitted date, the Office of Data Analytics and Business Intelligence states in the RPAD.

DSD considers an in-queue permit inactive after a 90-day lapse without applicant activity. DSD currently has 291 in-queue permits listed as inactive.

The City’s long-delayed efforts to get a handle on the permit backlogs have likely received an assist from a broader construction slowdown.

Changing market sentiment throughout North Texas suburbs during the first three months of 2023 resulted in a sharp 39% drop in construction permits/new housing starts, according to Dallas-based market research firm Residential Strategies Inc.

The Q1, 2023 breakdown shows a 58% drop in Anna, 42% in Frisco, 30% in McKinney, 26% in Prosper, and 10% in Denton, Dallas Business Journal reported.

The current housing market is a mixed bag, according to recent research by Point2 with data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Trapped in the financial rollercoaster that is gripping the nation, homeowners and potential homebuyers are experiencing decision paralysis,” a Point2 analyst said in the report. Current market conditions have made it increasingly challenging to make educated decisions about buying or selling, the report suggested.

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  1. Broadnax’s Building Permit Activity Slows – Round Up DFW - […] DSD required 27 median days to issue a single-family permit in May (when adjusting for the time spent with…

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