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BRIEFCASE

REAL ESTATE : Permit Data Is Further Proof the Market Ain't What It Used to Be

September 21, 1993|John O'Dell / Times staff writer

Orange County and residential development. How bad is it?

U.S. Housing Markets, a statistical summary of housing and economic data in 53 major metropolitan areas, offers this cheery comparison:

Builders in and around hot-spot Atlanta were issued permits for 15,204 single-family homes during the first six months of 1993, good for top ranking among the 53 areas. Orange County was 45th on the list, with permits issued for just 2,262 new single family homes in the January-through-June period.

In Southern California--where builders in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside counties combined received 13,187 single-family permits in the first half--only San Diego County, at 1,906, fell below Orange County.

Orange County did better in the apartment market, with permits for 1,031 units earning it a 14th-place ranking. But with a cumulative total of 3,293 residential permits for the six-month period, Orange County finished 44th out of the 53 regions. No California market placed in the top 10--the San Francisco Bay Area was highest at 13th place with 8,054 home and apartment permits, and the top-ranked Southern California market was Riverside-San Bernardino, the Inland Empire, with 6,869 residential permits for the first half.

A quarterly report by Michigan-based Lomas Mortgage USA summarized the Southern California market this way:

"New homes sales weak nearly everywhere. Builders with affordable (single-family developments) do best. . . . Orange County apartment market still shaky. Concessions common and spreading. . . . Overall vacancy rate about 7%."

On a bright note, the survey found that the number of Orange County builders' single-family permits added up to a 9% gain from the first half of 1992 and gave the county "star performance among major California markets."

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