SACRAMENTO — Driven again by a substantial increase in the multifamily sector, California housing starts rose 10 percent in September when compared to the same month a year ago, the California Building Industry Association announced.
According to statistics compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board, permits were pulled for 3,291 total housing units in September, up 10 percent from the same month a year ago but down 35 percent from August. Permits for single-family homes totaled 1,463, down 16 percent from September 2010 and down 25 percent from the previous month, while multifamily permits totaled 1,828, up 45 percent from a year ago but down 41 percent from August.
For the first three quarters of the year, permits were pulled for 34,386 total units, up 6 percent when compared to the first three quarters of 2010 when 32,368 permits were issued. Permits for single-family homes were down 15 percent while permits for multifamily units were up 37 percent.
Mike Winn, CBIA’s president and CEO, said the continued increase in building permits was welcomed news but noted that the industry still has a ways to go before it could signal any meaningful recovery.
“California’s homebuilding industry is a prolific job-generator and we’d like to see these numbers continue to trend upward through the remainder of the year and throughout 2012 so we can help put thousands of Californians back to work,” said Winn. “Tough economic conditions, rising impact fees, tight credit and ever-increasing regulations continue to keep California’s homebuilding levels at record-lows which is not a great place to be if we want to begin to make a dent in unemployment and jumpstart a significant economic recovery.”
Winn noted that CIRB is now forecasting a total of 46,000 residential permits will be pulled in 2011 consisting of 21,500 single-family units and 24,500 multifamily units. The forecasted single-family total would be the lowest on record since CIRB began tracking permits in 1954. The forecasted yearly total would put this year just a fraction ahead of 2010’s 44,762 units, but still down from 2008’s total of 64,962 units.
“We must continue to encourage our state and local lawmakers, as well as regulatory agencies, to closely examine any laws and regulations that could hamper our industry’s fragile recovery during these difficult economic times,” said Winn.