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REAL ESTATE : Permit News Mixed, but Foreclosure Data Reveal Ugly Story

December 09, 1993|John O'Dell / Times staff writer

Other people get letters, we get numbers. First, there are the permits.

The Construction Industry Research Board reports that builders in Orange County pulled permits for 3,614 single-family homes in the first 10 months this year. While a far cry from the 10-month total of 9,695 units in 1988, it still is an improvement from last year, when 3,159 single-family permits had been issued through October.

The Burbank-based research board said builders also obtained permits for 1,688 apartment units in the first 10 months of this year, down from 2,188 last year. That is a total of 5,302 residential units, down slightly from 5,347 in the first 10 months of 1992--which until now was the county's worst year for home building in a decade.

Then there are the foreclosures, which can't happen until the homes are built: And that news is really ugly.

TRW-Redi Property Data Services said Wednesday that the total number of real estate foreclosures in Orange County this year will jump 68% to 5,242 from last year's 3,109.

That outstrips a predicted 62.6% increase for all of Southern California, said TRW analyst Nima Nattagh, and clearly shows that Orange County remains in the grip of a deep economic recession this year. TRW doesn't report separate foreclosure rates for residential and commercial property because of the difficulty is obtaining accurate property use descriptions, Nattagh said. "But we did a study of California last year and determined that about 85% of the foreclosures were for owner-occupied residences," Nattagh said.

Condos Sell at Auction: Despite the soft market and soaring foreclosure rate, some things do sell.

Real Estate Disposition Corp. opened escrow on 65 downtown Santa Ana condominiums at an auction Sunday. REDC spokesman Chris Chamberlain said nearly 350 people attended the auction session, held at the historic Yost Theater in the downtown business district a few blocks from the condo project on 4th Street.

Average selling price was $88,000, he said, with the most expensive unit of the day, a three-bedroom, two-bath condo with about 1,400 square feet of living space, going for $174,900.

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