Between Jan. 1-May 31, the city issued 1,668 building permits—a roughly 5% increase from the same time last year, when the city issued 1,585 building permits.
But according to the city's data, fewer building permits were issued in May 2020 than May 2019, with 279 in May 2020 and 257 in May 2019—but April 2020 was just slightly higher than April 2019.
The city also tracks the valuation of the permits. Jan. 1 to May 31 saw the issuance of 1,668 permits worth $553.73 million compared to the the valuation of the previous year's permits at $234.56 million.
The city is not the only place that saw an increase in building permits year over year despite the virus: Maricopa County reported an increase countywide in April of 20%.
The county's planning and development department reported 1,371 building permit applications were submitted in April 2020 compared to 1,141 in 2019.
“We know the economic impact of this crisis is far from over and we are seeing impacts across all industries,” said Clint Hickman, the Maricopa County board of supervisors chairman, District 4, in a news release. “What this data represents to me, though, is a reason to be hopeful. People continue to build in Maricopa County. They want to invest in their future here, and the Planning and Development Department is allowing them to do that with greater ease even during times of social distancing.”
The county received 4,897 permit applications in the first four months of 2020, according to the county. The county issued 3,596 building permits, including 720 new-house permits, during that same time period. The total value of the issued permits was $294.97 million. In the first four months of 2020, 65% of building permit applications were submitted online, a trend that began even before the full impact of COVID-19 shutdowns was felt, according to the county.
“Improvements to the online permitting experience made prior to the pandemic have enabled more individuals and businesses to apply for permits on their schedule, at their convenience. In fact, we saw the percentage of permits submitted online jump from 49% in January to 77% in March,” said Jen Pokorski, the Maricopa County planning and development director, in a news release. “Our team is committed to building on these successes so our community can grow in a safe, balanced way.”