California home builders, making up for production delays earlier this year, began construction on nearly 11 percent more single-family homes in June of this year than they did in June 2004, pushing total housing starts during the first six months of the year ahead of last year’s near-record pace, the California Building Industry Association reported Thursday.

In fact, June’s 16,032 single-family housing starts, as measured by building permits issued, was the highest June total since 1989, according to figures compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board.

Multifamily starts in June were 22.2 percent lower than June 2004 but 2 percent higher than May. (CIRB reported, however, that several jurisdictions submitted their multifamily permit data after the report was compiled. When these units are included, multifamily starts increased by almost 8 percent over May but were still lower than June 2004.)

Steve Doyle, a San Diego home builder and 2005 CBIA president, said the reason for the surge in new-home construction is simple – demand continues to far exceed supply.

“The demand for new homes, condominiums and apartments is still phenomenally strong, and builders are doing everything we can to meet the housing needs of a growing population,” Doyle said. “Now that the weather is better, we’re doing all we can to make up for lost time.

“But absent fundamental changes in the way California deals with growth issues, it’s unlikely that we will be able to fully meet that need anytime soon. And until supply and demand is more in balance, it’s likely that housing costs will continue to rise.”

During the first six months of the year, single-family home construction totaled 80,540, a 1.9 percent increase over last year. Multifamily construction – condos and townhomes as well as apartments – totaled 25,564, which is 4.6 percent less than the same period last year. Multifamily starts tend to be much more volatile than single-family construction.

During the first half of the year, single-family construction was strongest in the Riverside-San Bernardino and Sacramento regions, followed by Los Angeles, San Diego, and Kern counties. Production grew the fastest in Ventura County – up an incredible 109.8 percent – followed by Imperial, Kings, Shasta and Sonoma counties.

Condo and apartment starts for the first half of 2005 were strongest in Los Angeles County, followed by San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino, Santa Clara-San Benito and Orange counties.

The California Building Industry Association is a statewide trade association representing more than 6,200 businesses – home builders, remodelers, subcontractors, architects, engineers, designers, and other industry professionals.

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