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Housing permits have been weak throughout 2019, continuing a downward trend that started in the summer of 2018. 9,500 permits were issued statewide in May, down 30 percent from the prior May. In total, 43,600 permits have been issued in the first five months of 2019, down 13 percent from the first five months of 2018.

Multifamily housing units (21,500) have made up about half of the permits issued in 2019. Multifamily permits were notably weak in May, falling 44 percent below May 2018. Overall, multifamily permitting is down 15 percent through the first five months of 2019 as compared to 2018.

Multifamily Permits Issued in California

Similarly, single family housing permits declined 11 percent in May relative to a year ago. Through the first five months of 2019, single family permits are down 11 percent compared to 2018.

Single Family Permits Issued in California

Weak multifamily permitting in May was not confined to a particular region of the state. Major counties in Southern California, the Bay Area, and the Central Valley had big drops in permits this May compared to a year ago.

Multifamily Permitting Slowdowns Across the State

Data source: CIRB (Construction Industry Research Board), a service provided by the California Homebuilding Foundation


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