Led by a strong surge in new condos and apartments in the state's southern areas, California housing production improved in February, climbing 7.7 percent from a year ago, the California Building Industry Association announced today. According to data compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board, total housing starts, as measured by building permits issued, totaled 15,571 in February, up from 14,463 in February 2005. Single-family starts, however, dropped nearly 14 percent from a year ago to 8,978. Multifamily production totaled 6,593, up almost 64 percent from a year ago. CBIA Chief Economist Alan Nevin said the numbers bode well for a solid year in 2006. "The permit count for the first two months of 2006 is virtually the same as the first two months of 2005," Nevin said, noting that total production for the year is down just 1.4 percent. "The key difference is that the number of multifamily units permitted is well ahead of last year, while single-family starts are down. T...
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