New Research Brief: Findings from the Development Approvals Index

The NAIOP Research Foundation has released a new research brief: Findings from the Development Approvals Index, authored by Kat Grimsley, Ph.D., a NAIOP Distinguished Fellow and the Director of the Master of Science in Real Estate Development program at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

This brief is a follow up to The Development Approvals Index: A New Tool to Evaluate Local Approvals Processes released in February 2021. With the help of several NAIOP chapters and George Mason University, the Index has been populated with an initial round of data collected from August 2021 to March 2022 that includes 30 jurisdictions in 16 states.

While these results are preliminary, they provide an enticing first look at the comparative applications of the Index. This brief provides an overview of these initial results and outlines examples of how the resulting information may be useful to both developers and jurisdictions.

Key takeaways:

  • The Index can be used to compare national markets or submarkets within the same metropolitan area.
  • The jurisdiction with the highest weighted overall score was Fairfax County, Virginia. The top five jurisdictions are distributed relatively evenly across all four U.S. regions.
  • Most (67%) of the Pacific jurisdictions are in the top 10, compared to 44% for the Mountain region, 25% for the Atlantic and 17% for the Central region.
  • The majority of the top 10 performing jurisdictions have comparatively higher populations and income measures. Eight of the top 10 performers coincided with the upper half of household earnings, suggesting a possible connection between constituent household income and jurisdictional performance.

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About the NAIOP Research Foundation
The NAIOP Research Foundation was established in 2000 as a 501(c)(3) organization to support the work of individuals and organizations engaged in real estate development, investment and operations. The Foundation’s core purpose is to provide information about how real properties impact and benefit communities throughout North America. For more information, visit

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association is the leading organization for developers, owners, investors and related professionals in office, industrial, retail, and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP provides unparalleled industry networking and education and advocates for effective legislation on behalf of our members. NAIOP advances responsible, sustainable development that creates jobs and benefits the communities in which our members work and live. For more information, visit

NAIOP Contact:
Kathryn Hamilton, NAIOP vice president for marketing and communications
703-904-7100, ext. 165