The number of Tucson-area building permits issued in September was the lowest in 20 months.

Although that’s “pretty disappointing,” the building market will still have a better year than last, said Ginger Kneup, owner of Bright Future Real Estate Research.

In her monthly report, she said only 126 permits for single-family homes were issued last month, many in Marana.

The number could be low because new-home sales were low in August and builders want ready-to-sell inventory to be bought before building more, Kneup said.

She said low permit volumes and fewer home sales will be the norm for the next few months.

While home sales are dampening in the short term — the government shutdown caused a bottleneck in loan processing and hurt consumer confidence — the year will end with 15 percent more sales than last year, Kneup predicts.

The September numbers also show more evidence that local home prices are stabilizing, she said, with the median price of a resale home hovering around $167,000, up 10.6 percent over last year.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 573-4251.