State is approving more housing permits
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.