REAL ESTATE : Housing Permits Rise Sharply; Commercial Building Remains Flat

Building permits for new home construction in Orange County during the first three months of 1994 increased 37% from the first quarter of last year, according to the Construction Industry Research Board, a research group in Burbank.

An estimated 2,082 building permits for new single and multifamily homes were issued in the county compared to 1,522 issued in the first three months of 1993. Nearly half, or 977 of the permits, were issued in the month of March, mostly for unincorporated areas of the county and in the city of Orange.

"Part of that increase in March is seasonal, but it's still a big jump," said Ben Bartolotto, research director for the board. "This signals that Orange County at least is starting to come out of this housing recession, although the numbers are still two-thirds of what they were in 1990."

Commercial building in the county stayed virtually flat during the quarter as compared to the previous year. Since 1990, there has been no significant new industrial building permits issued in Orange County, Bartolotto said.

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