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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / REAL ESTATE

Residential Construction Is Up 28%, Heading to Best Year in Decade

March 22, 2001|DARYL STRICKLAND

Home building in Orange County is on pace to record its best year in more than a decade as the rate of construction has climbed 28% so far this year over last year's pace.

That rate ranks second-best among 75 markets nationwide, according to the Meyers Group, an Irvine real estate research firm.

More new homes will help ease the county's housing crunch and eventually may put the brakes on climbing prices.

Meyers projects that Orange County builders are on pace to take out permits for 13,000 new homes this year, which would be the highest since 1989.

Still, the company estimates there will be three buyers for every two homes on the market this year. That ratio, while much lower than the peak of four buyers for every home in 1998, should provide another profitable year for local builders.

There's no chance that the market will become overbuilt, Meyers said. To have a significant effect on prices, the new housing supply would need to record a surge in activity for a much longer period of time.

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Daryl Strickland covers real estate for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5670 and at daryl.strickland@latimes.com.

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