State is ap­prov­ing more hous­ing per­mits

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Emily Deruy

Af­ter months of limited and in some cases nonex­is­tent growth, Cal­i­for­nia saw a sharp rise in the num­ber of build­ing per­mits for new homes in Septem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to new fig­ures re­leased this week by the state’s Depart­ment of Fi­nance, ap­proval of hous­ing per­mits surged nearly 22 per­cent from Au­gust to Septem­ber, a more than 41 per­cent in­crease from last year.

The num­bers are a good sign for Gov. Gavin New­som, who promised re­peat­edly to lead an ef­fort to de­velop 3.5 mil­lion homes in the Golden State by 2025 to tackle a press­ing hous­ing cri­sis. But while the 142,000 to­tal hous­ing units au­tho­rized in Septem­ber is a sig­nif­i­cant uptick from 116,000 in Au­gust, it’s just a frac­tion of what will be needed to meet New­som’s goal.

“It’s good news as far as hav­ing more hous­ing avail­able for our folks, but

I would say that a sin­gle uptick is not a trend yet,” said David Bini, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Santa Clara & San Ben­ito Coun­ties Build­ing & Con­struc­tion Trades Coun­cil.

The growth was driven by a 47 per­cent in­crease in per­mits for multi-fam­ily units. Per­mits for sin­gle-fam­ily units ac­tu­ally fell by around 2 per­cent in Septem­ber. And de­spite the en­cour­ag­ing num­bers in Septem­ber, the over­all av­er­age for the first three quar­ters of 2019 is 111,000 hous­ing units — bogged down by low num­bers early in the year — com­pared to 122,000 for the same time­frame in 2018.

“The trend is to­ward mul­ti­fam­ily for a cou­ple of rea­sons,” Bini said. “We’re out of space…and it’s a cost fac­tor as well. Multi-fam­ily homes are go­ing to be more within reach for the av­er­age fam­ily rel­a­tive to a sin­gle-fam­ily home.”

That’s es­pe­cially true in the Bay Area, he added.

“There’s just no room to grow out any­more in this area,” Bini said.

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