"1. Houston, Texas
2008 Total Building Permits: 42,697
They like to do things big in Houston. Now the metro area, home to nearly 5.8 million people, can lay claim to being the largest home building market in the country, with 42,697 building permits. The market is still benefiting from an influx of population and jobs and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Employment rose 2.2 percent last year, representing the addition of an incredible 57,000 jobs. Home building activity in Houston has only fallen 31 percent since 2005. Also, existing home prices actually rose in Houston last year, 2.8 percent, to $160,200, still a very affordable level."
"75. Detroit, Mich.
2008 total building permits: 3,085
If you are searching for the bottom of the housing market, look no further-it's right here in moribund Detroit, Mich. Very few builders were willing to bet on selling a home in the Detroit area last year. With a population of 4.4 million, making it the 11th largest metro area in the country, Detroit accounted for a mere 3,085 permits, down 42 percent from already depressed levels in 2007. Detroit isn't even among the top 50 largest home building markets in the country anymore."