State's Resale, New Housing Levels Increase

Times Staff Writer

A double whammy hit the California real estate and construction industries last year, but--for a change--it was the good kind.

The state's residential resale market chalked up an estimated 382,120 single-family sales in 1984, an 11.3% increase over 1983's activity level of 343,200, according to Joel Singer, chief economist of the California Assn. of Realtors. He predicted a slightly lower activity level--355,000 resales--for 1985.

On the new-construction front, housing production last year reached 221,532 units authorized by building permits, the best showing in the state since the 245,300 units authorized in 1978, according to Stan Swartz, president of the Sacramento-based California Building Industry Assn.

Swartz, a San Diego builder, said that favorable financing conditions stimulated rental housing production in most of the state's urban areas, causing the multifamily sector to outperform the single-family sector for the first time since 1973.

The 111,875 multifamily units built last year represented a 61% improvement over 1983, while the 109,657 single-family units represented an improvement of only 7%, Swartz added.

Singer said that the median price for existing single-family homes in California was $112,470 last year, down 0.1% from the $112,590 recorded in 1983. He predicted a 2% increase this year, with the median price going to $114,500.

"We are predicting a strong housing market in the first half of this year, with activity in the second half dependent on interest rates and the reaction of the credit markets to federal deficit reduction efforts," he added.

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