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San Diego building permits continue monthly decline

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For the first nine months of 2006, the total value of all building permits in San Diego County is $566 million less than the permits for the same period last year.

According to recent figures provided by Burbank-based Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB), the decline in total permit worth also occurred in September, with permits pulled for nearly $236 million worth of total construction, nearly $174 million less than in September 2005.

September is the third straight month where the total value of permits pulled declined from the same month last year.

While overall permit values have declined, all building sectors outside of the residential market have experienced an increase in nine-month construction values when compared to 2005.

In the commercial building sector the value of all permits pulled so far this year is nearly $568 million, compared to nearly $321 million for the same nine months last year. However, September permits were pulled for more than $41 million, the second lowest monthly total this year.

Industrial permit values have fluctuated on a monthly basis in 2006, ranging from more than $38 million to less than $3 million. So far this year, permits have been pulled for nearly $127 million worth of industrial construction, which is $6 million more than the 2005 nine-month total.

Despite the value of "other" construction (including schools, hospitals and churches) reaching its lowest monthly total this year of more than $12 million in September, the worth of permits pulled for the nine months, nearly $208 million, is nearly $36 million more than last year.

Remaining stable throughout this year has been the value of nonresidential alterations, which has experienced a high monthly total of more than $54 million and a monthly low of more than $39 million in 2006. The nine-month value of permits this year is nearly $67 million more than last year's total.

When melding all the nonresidential building sectors together, permits were pulled for more than $102 million worth of construction in September and more than $1.3 billion so far this year. In 2005 the nine-month value of all nonresidential construction was more than $960 million.

As the amount of nonresidential construction remains strong, the residential sector is experiencing an opposite fate.

In September there were 317 single-family housing permits pulled worth $80 million. This compares to 513 single-family permits pulled worth more than $168 million in September 2005. The 317 permits pulled also represent the second lowest monthly total this year.

For the first nine months of this year, 3,910 single-family permits have been pulled valued at more than $1.1 billion, down from last year when 6,672 single-family permits were pulled worth more than $1.8 billion.

Some in the building industry had previously predicted multi-family activity would slow drastically throughout this year, and that appears to be the case as the past two months have experienced 167 permits (August) and 266 permits (September).

The 266 permits have a value of more than $27 million, which compares to 736 permits pulled in September of last year worth more than $114 million.

So far this year, 5,034 multifamily permits have been pulled valued at more than $634 million, compared to 6,477 permits pulled worth nearly $816 million for the same period in 2005.

The decrease in permit activity felt in September by both the single-family and multifamily sectors resulted in 583 total residential units pulled.

This permit total is especially low when considering June of this year saw 686 single-family permits, and single-month multifamily permit totals have four times reached sums higher than 583 this year.

The total number of residential permits in September compares to 1,249 permits pulled in September of last year. For the first nine months of 2006 a total of 8,944 permits have been pulled, more than 4,000 units less than the 13,149 permits for the same period last year.

While the amount and value of single- and multi-family have fluctuated on a monthly basis, the value of permits pulled for residential alterations this year has remained stable, ranging from more than $26 million to more than $38 million per month.

So far this year permits have been pulled for more than $286 million worth of alterations, which compares to more than $328 million for the same period last year.

Combining all sectors of residential building, the value of permits pulled in September equated to nearly $134 million worth of construction. For the first nine months of this year the worth of permits pulled is more than $2 billion.

Both these monetary stats are significantly below 2005 figures for the same periods of time, as permits were pulled more than $322 million worth of construction in September and more than $2.9 billion worth of building for the first nine months.

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