New Construction in County Outpaces Overall State Rate

Times Staff Writer

The value of new construction in Orange County increased 28% to $1.3 billion during the first four months of 1987, significantly outpacing building activity in the state as a whole.

The county's four-month building spree also ran well ahead of all but a handful of major California population centers.

According to statistics released Monday by the Associated General Contractors of California, Orange County posted increased building valuation in all categories of construction from January through April, compared with statewide declines in non-residential and heavy construction and a modest increase in residential building.

The total value of new residential construction in Orange County was $703 million for the fourth months, up 39% from the same period a year ago, the AGC reported. Non-residential construction in the county totaled $503 million, up 4%, while heavy construction was $62 million, up 41%.

On a statewide basis, the value of new residential construction increased just 15%--to $7.2 billion--while non-residential construction declined 10% to $3.6 billion, and heavy construction fell 12% to $1 billion. Overall, the value of new California construction increased 4% to $11.8 billion.

AGC President Al Shankle, an Anaheim-based builder, said the statewide decline in non-residential and heavy construction valuation signals that the building boom of 1985-86 is winding down.

He attributed the declines to reduced construction of big office buildings in California's larger metropolitan areas, particularly Los Angeles, and a reduction in federal outlays for highway construction.

Shankle said the AGC expects a 12% decline in overall building activity throughout the state by the end of 1987. He called the projection the "normal downside" of the building boom of recent years.

Orange County ranked fourth among the state's metropolitan areas in the dollar volume of residential construction during the first four months of 1987, behind Los Angeles, Riverside/San Bernardino and San Diego. The county ranked second in non-residential construction, trailing only Los Angeles.

In residential construction, Orange County reported a 37% increase in the number of single-family homes built and a 26% increase in multifamily units.

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