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After starting out the year strong, housing construction softened notably in the second half of 2018. Permits between January 2018 and May 2018 were ahead of 2017 levels by almost 20 percent. In contrast, 11 percent fewer permits were issued between June 2018 and December 2018 than in the same months in 2017. Overall, 114,000 permits were issued in 2018, a bit lower than the 116,000 in 2017.

Single family homes (57,000) have made up about half of the statewide total this year. December was a weak month for single family permits, falling 30 percent below 2017 levels. This is the second relatively weak month in a row. Overall, single family permitting in 2018 was about on par with 2017.

Multifamily housing units (57,000) account for the other half of the statewide total. Multifamily permitting was consistently weak during the second half of 2018. In December, multifamily permits fell 15 percent below the same month a year ago. This is the fifth straight month of year-over-year decline. Despite starting the year on pace to beat 2017 levels, total multifamily permits issued in 2018 fell 5 percent below 2017.

The slowdown in single family permitting in November and December has been widespread across the state. However, a few counties— Alameda, Orange, San Diego, and San Joaquin—experienced especially high year-over-year declines.  

Data source: CIRB (Construction Industry Research Board), a service provided by the California Homebuilding Foundation


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