DEFINITION of 'Building Permits'

A type of authorization that must be granted by a government or other regulatory body before the construction of a new or existing building can legally occur. The U.S. census bureau reports the finalized number of the total monthly building permits on the 18th work day of every month.

BREAKING DOWN 'Building Permits'

The monthly building permit report is closely watched by economists and investors alike. Since all related factors associated with the construction of a building are important economic activities (for example, financing and employment), the building permit report can give a major hint as to the state of the economy in the near future.

To learn more about building permits, check out What's the difference between housing starts and building permits?

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