California New-Home Construction Rebounds in March

The Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB) recently released some encouraging data on housing starts in California, as measured by the number of building permits issued. 

According to CIRB, permits were pulled for 4,130 total housing units statewide in March, up 9% from the same month a year ago and up 69% from February. Permits for single-family homes totaled 1,644, down 32% from March 2010 but up 28% from the previous month, while multifamily permits totaled 2,486, up 82% from a year ago and up 113% from February. 

For the first three months of the year, permits were pulled for 9,360 total units, down 10% when compared to the first three months of 2010 when 10,371 permits were issued. Permits for single-family homes were down 27% while permits for multifamily units were up 15%. 

View March statistics for CA's metropolitan areas 

2010 is Second-lowest Year on Record for Homebuilding in California

The latest data from CBIA and the Construction Industry Research Board shows California homebuilders put up the second-lowest number of homes for a single year in 2010, posting a modest improvement over the record-low that was set in 2009.

CBIA said just 44,601 permits were issued statewide last year for new homes, apartments, condominiums and townhomes, up 23% from 2009, but down 31% from 2008, which had held the distinction of the second-lowest total on record with 64,962 permits issued. Records began being kept in 1954 with the lowest yearly total set in 2009 with 36,421 permits issued. 

In Riverside County, the difference between single-family and multi-family permits was vast.

A total of 3,887 single-family permits were pulled in 2010, up 5% from 2009, and up 2% from 2008. However, permits for multi-family homes totaled 538 in 2010, down 29% from 2009 and down a whopping 74% from 2008. 

View the permit table

Photo credit: Flickr user steveleenow

Economist Sees Bright Spots in Riverside County’s Economy

It's that time of year again when all the economists and forecasters make their predictions for the new year. So far the outlook has been positive, but tempered. Economists seem to think the worst is behind us, but that the recovery will be slow.

At the recent International Builders Show in Orlando, economists said they expect builders to start construction on 575,000 single-family homes this year, up 21% from last year. That would still be far below the 2005 peak of 1.7 million housing starts.

Closer to home, Economist John Husing noted in his quarterly economic forecast that prices in the Inland Empire have stabilized and that affordability has jumped to 64% of area families being able to afford a home. That compares to 15% just three years ago!

And next week the Riverside BIA will be hosting our annual Inland Empire Economic Forecast, a not-to-be-missed event for those wanting to know more details about where the economy stands today and where it's headed. Esmael Adibi, Director of the Anderson Center for Economic Research at Chapman University, will lay it all out January 26 at the Riverside Convention Center.

Haven't registered for the Economic Forecast yet? Download the registration form. 

Read the Wall Street Journal article about the national forecast

Read the Southwest Riverside News Network article about Husing's forecast

New-Home Construction in California Up 21% in November

The latest data from CBIA and the Construction Industry Research Board shows California homebuilders pulled permits for 21% more homes in November when compared to the same month a year ago.

That sounds good, but let's not forget that it doesn't begin to get us back to where we need to be in order to meet housing demands in our state. And right now we're building a record low number of units at the same time our state's population is growing.

It seems that multi-family permits are responsible for the boost. Permits were pulled for 3,175 total housing units in November, up 21% from the same month a year ago and up 35% from October. But permits for single-family homes totaled 1,318, down 28% from November 2009 and down 10% from the previous month, while multifamily permits totaled 1,857, up 129% from a year ago and up 108% from October.

The story is a little different in the Inland Empire. 

In Riverside and San Bernardino counties, permits were pulled for 385 total housing units in November, down 44% from the same month a year ago and up 26% from October. Permits for single-family homes totaled 265, down 29% from November 2009 but up 6% from the previous month. Multifamily permits totaled 120, down 62% from a year ago and up 122% from October.

For the first 11 months of 2010, a total of 5,666 permits were pulled in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. That down 7% when compared to the first 11 months of 2009.

View the permit table

Housing Starts Down in Sept But Up for 2010 to Date

Anyone related to the building industry in Southern California knows that housing starts have fallen dramatically from where they were six years ago. So it's really no surprise that housing starts fell again in September, as reported this week.

The good news is that there are signs of improvement. As reported in today's Contra Costa Times, builders in Riverside and San Bernardino counties pulled 4.1% more housing permits in the first nine months of 2010 compared to 2009.

Our own Riverside BIA CEO Mark Knorringa was quoted in the article:

"There won't be anything that will return to what we've historically seen," Knorringa said. "But little by little we're going to find our way out of this."

 Read the full article


Riverside County Building Permits Rise in August

More good news this Friday!

The Construction Industry Research Board and CBIA are reporting that the number of pulled housing permits were up in August versus the same time last year.  Our own Mark Knorringa was quoted in today's North County Times in their piece about the permit trend.

We're also hearing anecdotal stories from a few members that traffic at model homes is picking up. More on that later.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Read the full North County Times article

Read the CBIA press release

Download the CIRB statistics

Photo Credit: Flickr user Terinea IT Support