New-home construction in California, as measured by building permits issued, dropped 62 percent in January compared to the same month last year, the California Building Industry Association reported today, and fell 27.6 percent compared to December 2007.

Multifamily building permits fell 34.3 percent in January compared to January 2007, and fell 46.5 percent compared to December 2007.

Single-family building permits sunk in 26 of 28 metro areas year-over-year in January, according to data supplied by the Construction Industry Research Board — permit activity rose 7.1 percent in the Ventura metro area and 1.6 percent in the Modesto area.

The Vallejo-Fairfield metro area had the most dramatic year-over-year decline in single-family permit activity in January, falling 91 percent. Next on the list was Yuba City, down 89.2 percent; El Centro, down 79.7 percent; Santa Rosa, down 75.8 percent; and Bakersfield, down 74.2 percent.

Monthly single-family permit activity jumped 129.1 percent in the Modesto metro area; 76.5 percent in Ventura; and 72 percent in Merced in January 2008 compared to December 2007, while falling 64.4 percent in Santa Rosa; 61.5 percent in Vallejo; 55.6 percent in Salinas; and 52.2 percent in the Anaheim and Napa areas.

A total of 2,608 single-family permits were pulled in January, and 2,092 multifamily permits, according to the report.

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