Over the last few weeks, here is what we've learned about the local housing market in 2013:
• Total home sales were up again for the year, while prices continued to rebound.
• Annual sales data from RealtyTrac Inc. suggest a greater portion of sales at the local, state and national levels were either short sales, foreclosure auction sales or properties sold by banks. All-cash sales continue to rise (see "Midstate foreclosure, short sales up in 2013").
The latest piece of the equation: Residential building permits.
The U.S. Census Bureau released preliminary figures for 2013 that show 11.8 percent volume growth over December 2012 for the metropolitan areas covered by the Business Journal.
The building permit survey found 2,987 permits for Harrisburg-Carlisle, Lancaster and Lebanon counties and York-Hanover. The preliminary year-to-date figures in December 2012 totaled 2,672.
The 2013 permits were valued at $500.6 million, according to the Census. That was up 23.4 percent from the $405.6 million figure posted in December 2012.
Final annual figures released for 2012 show residential building permits in the midstate actually totaled 4,105. The value of those permits was $582 million, according to the Census.
If the final aggregate valuation for 2013 grows by a similar margin from the preliminary data, last year's permits were worth about $718 million, according to staff analysis. That would be the highest total since 2008.
Permits would be pushing 4,600 — also the highest since 2008.
We'll just have to wait and see.