California home builders began construction on 194,956 new homes and apartments in 2003, the highest level since 1989, according to preliminary building permit statistics compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board in Burbank. Included in that total were 138,679 single-family homes and 56,277 multifamily units, mainly apartments. December production was also up sharply in most parts of the state compared to both December 2002 and November 2003, signaling that builders believe the strong housing market will continue in 2004. But California Building Industry Association President Sherm Harmer, a San Diego homebuilder specializing in high-density condominiums and townhomes in inner-city neighborhoods, warned that even the 200,000 housing starts expected this year won't be enough ...
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