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Builders pull fewer permits for new homes in California

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Builders pulled fewer permits for single-family homes in California in January than during the same month a year earlier, suggesting reticence on their part to put new houses on the market in the midst of a renewed drop in prices.

But builders increased the number of permits pulled for rental housing units, according to data released Tuesday.

The number of permits pulled for single-family homes declined 24% in January from the same month a year earlier, totaling 1,506, according to the California Building Industry Assn. in Sacramento. The number of ‘multi-family’ permits, which includes both apartments and condominiums, increased 28% in January from the same month a year earlier, totaling 1,414.

The total decline for both kinds of permits --56% -- was steep compared with the prior month, and Mike Winn, chief executive of the builders’ group, said the plunge was due to a rush of permits being pulled at the end of last year as building codes changed this year.

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‘We hope to see increases and a stronger homebuilding recovery going forward,’ Winn said in a statement.

Builders face a challenging environment with competition from the market for previously owned houses. Foreclosures remain a big part of that market, and they typically sell at a steep discount.

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-- Alejandro Lazo


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