Value of Urban Building Permits Up 8% in Quarter

Associated Press

The value of building permits issued in the nation's 200 largest cities rose 8.1% in the third quarter of 1984 from a year earlier, indicating a "relatively strong" level of construction activity throughout 1985, Dun & Bradstreet Corp. said Sunday.

But the increase in building permit activity fell short of the 20% increase from a year earlier in the second quarter of 1984 and the 25.1% increase in the first quarter of 1984, the business information company said in its latest report, released Friday for publication today.

The report said $12.9 billion worth of building permits was issued in the cities surveyed during the three months ended Sept. 30, 1984, up from $12 billion in the third quarter of 1983.

The figures indicate "that construction activity should remain relatively strong throughout 1985, since building permit levels forecast construction activity in the next six to eight quarters," Dun & Bradstreet said in a news release.

Joseph W. Duncan, corporate economist and chief statistician for Dun & Bradstreet, said the third quarter's increase in building permits was less robust than the increases in the previous two quarters because "much of the pent-up demand resulting from the recession had been satisfied."

"The economic recovery in 1983 set the stage for the strong expansion in the first half of 1984," he said, "and levels of commercial and residential building permits paralleled the sharp growth in GNP during this period."

But, he added, "in the third quarter, levels of both economic growth and building permits moderated."

Los Angeles issued $760 million in new building permits, up 49.2% from a year earlier, for the largest total dollar value of any American city. New York City issued permits worth $727 million, for an increase of 135% from a year earlier and the second-largest total.

Rounding out the top five in total value were:

- Dallas, with $438.1 million, down 7.7% from a year earlier.

- Houston, with $429 million, up 32.9% from a year earlier.

- San Diego, Calif., with $361.9 million, up 4.2% from a year earlier.

By percent gain, the sharpest third-quarter increase was in Yonkers, N.Y., where building permit value soared 6,898% from a year earlier, thanks to a $200-million permit for construction of a new condominium complex. Value of building permits in Yonkers grew to $213 million from $3 million in the third quarter of 1983.

In second place was Warren, Mich., where permit value rose 1,080% from a year earlier because of a permit to Chrysler Corp. to build a $15-million painting plant. Permit value in Warren grew to $20 million from $1.7 million a year earlier.

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