The Des Moines-area residential homebuilding market remained stagnant in May as rising home mortgage rates caused some potential buyers to leave the new-home buying market.

The 14 jurisdictions surveyed by the Business Record issued 420 residential building permits in May, 12 more than the 408 issued in May 2021.

“Interest rates are rising, but the caveat is that with every quarter-point rise in interest rates, it’s a pretty minute amount added to your monthly mortgage payment,” said Jenna Kimberley, president of the Greater Des Moines Home Builders Association. “The very price-sensitive buyers are going to notice the rise in interest rates, but many people also have had the blessing of saving up for the past two-plus years.”

Kimberley said the price of lumber has begun declining in recent weeks, which is helping to ease the cost of new home construction. Last week, Business Insider reportedthat lumber prices have fallen more than 60% since March.

The average interest rate for a 30-year home mortgage was 5.78% last week, more than a percentage point higher than the previous week, according to Freddie Mac. The uptick was the largest one-week increase in Freddie Mac’s survey since 1987, it said. During the same week a year ago, the average rate was 2.93%.

During the first five months of 2022, 1,670 residential permits were issued in the Des Moines area, 12% fewer than the 1,899 issued during the same period a year ago.

The average value of a residential building permit issued in May was $262,385, down 3.2% from April when the average value was $271,028.