DENVER (KDVR) — Building has slowed around metro Denver to levels unseen since the early days of the COVID pandemic, particularly with the exact kind of homes local and state leaders are trying to encourage.

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks the number of building permits in the largest U.S. metro areas. The Denver area was experiencing a boom in the number of monthly permits through 2021, but that has fallen through the beginning of 2023.

There were 1,094 residential buildings of any size permitted in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area in March 2023 – the fewest since May 2020.

Building permits had swelled to nearly 3,500 in December 2021 and have declined ever since. There were half as many buildings permitted in the most recent six months as were permitted in the latter half of 2021.

The downturn was especially pronounced with so-called “gentle density” housing types – duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes.

These kinds of homes are typically a smaller portion of the total number of homes permitted in a given month. However, they dropped from roughly 10% of the homes permitted in May 2021 to less than 1% of the homes permitted this year.

City and state leaders including Gov. Jared Polis have recently turned their efforts to local land use policies, including a failed proposal to override local single-family zoning laws. The land use bill would have encouraged denser development, specifically focusing on duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes as a “missing middle” between rent and homeownership.