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Dick Turpin

1985 Was a Healthy Year for Housing

December 08, 1985|DICK TURPIN

As the year-end countdown for housing begins, an assessment of 1985 activity shows that California housing construction fared quite well, statistically speaking.

The expected production statewide of an estimated 255,000 units--surpassing the usually desired quota of 225,000--would result in the best home construction record since 1978.

In tandem with the anticipated total of $12.9 billion in commercial, industrial and institutional building, and $3.3 billion in heavy construction, according to expectations of the California Building Industry Assn., the state's total dollar volume of new structures will reach a record $33 billion.

The president-elect of the California Building Industry Assn., Forrest Maurer, a Sacramento builder, offers this somewhat mixed-bag production forecast:

"We are anticipating a gradual decline in building activity next year. We expect multifamiy production to drop 26% to 104,000 units, assuming that some sort of tax reform will be passed that will adversely affect private investment in rental housing.

Blackjack Conditions

"However, single-family construction should increase 6% to 121,000 units, as the deduction for mortgage interest on a home will be one of the few ways left for most taxpayers to reduce their tax bills."

Maurer's major goal for 1986 will be to push legislation giving builder/developers some relief from what they view as blackjack conditions for obtaining building permits.

For instance, the highest amount presently levied in California is the $6,000 per home fee of the Poway Unified School District, as reported in this section by Linda Lipman Oct. 13.

And guess where that figure is passed along--and added on-- when newcomers buy a home in that school district.

The 5,300-member association, while obviously concerned with such added costs of doing--and staying--in business, also, ironically, serves as an advocate for would-be buyers who are usually without any lobbying clout anywhere.

Gov. George Deukmejian missed a "tremendous opportunity to solve the school construction issue," Maurer declared, with the vetoing of two bills (AB 1495 and SB 999) designed to alleviate the matter.

When the governor addressed the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California convention in San Diego in October, he noted that he had approved budgets and bills to provide more than $2 billion for school construction and $12 billion for highway and road construction over the next five years.

"While this sounds like a tremendous amount of money, it still falls far short of meeting the state's infrastructure needs. We look forward," Maurer promised, "to working with his administration next year to solve this growing problem."

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