The tenuous bright spot in the gloom of the home-building picture for 1990 was multifamily homes--condos, apartments and the like. Although December's total of multifamily home permits was the lowest number issued during any month in the last five years, it was enough to leave the 1990 total, 8,556, just slightly lower than 1989's 8,608.
While the 1990 figure is far below those recorded during the 1985-'88 period (during which more than 11,000 permits were let annually), it was nearly in line with the 1980s' decade average, 8,752.
In addition to the countywide decline, there were decreases in the unincorporated areas and 13 of the county's cities, most notably Anaheim. There were gains in 10 cities, with the largest jumps occurring in Tustin and Irvine. And, for the second consecutive year, no such permits were let for work in five cities--Fountain Valley, La Palma, Seal Beach, Villa Park and Yorba Linda.
Here's how 1990 compared to 1989 in the cities and unincorporated areas, listed from the largest decrease to the largest increase: