California Leads in Home Building

From Associated Press

Three California metropolitan areas--Riverside-San Bernardino, Los Angeles-Long Beach and Sacramento--were among the top five in the nation in single-family home building activity in 1989, the National Assn. of Home Builders reported Friday.

The Riverside-San Bernardino area, with 38,200 building permits, topped the list for the second straight year. It was followed by the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, with 23,640 permits; Washington, with 22,360; Atlanta, with 21,750, and Sacramento, with 16.540.

The Home Builders said 938,000 single-family building permits were issued nationally last year, down from 1 million in 1988. Multifamily permits dropped to 403,000 in 1989 from 458,000 in 1988

"High interest rates at different times during the year coupled with a sluggish economy, affordability problems and consumer hesitance caused total permits for single-family and multifamily housing to drop from 1.43 million in 1988 to 1.34 million last year," said association president Martin Perlman.

"This is the lowest number of permits issued since 1982, during the most recent recession, when 1 million units were authorized," he said.

Despite heading the single-family list, the number of permits issued in the Riverside-San Bernardino area was 11.2% below that of 1988, the Home Builders said.

Permits were up 34.2% in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area and down 23.6% in the national capital area and 23.7% in Atlanta. Sacramento posted a 16.8% increase.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach area recorded the most multifamily permits, 24,590. That was down 23.6% from 1988.

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