Building Loans in July Second Highest of Year

Special to The Times

While building activity in California is still very slow, the steepest declines may well be in the past, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 805 construction loans totaling $601 million were recorded statewide in July. The dollar volume total was the second highest so far this year, 14.9% behind the June high of $706 million. January was the low point at $386 million, according to Dataquick Information Systems in La Jolla.

The July total was 9.1% behind $661 million for July, 1992. Year-over-year declines have been averaging about 40% the past 12 months. July dollar volume was $996 million in 1991; in 1990, it was $2.4 billion.

"We're at or very close to the bottom of the construction cycle" said Dataquick CEO Donald L. Cohn. "There's always a base level of activity, and I think we're very close to that right now."

"We're seeing some of the banks getting active again, which is a very good sign," he said.

Bank of America was July's most active construction lender, Other active lenders include Union Bank, Citicorp Real Estate and Wells Fargo Bank.

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