Biz Buzz: Home construction keeps on falling

New-home construction in San Luis Obispo County continued its decline in 2009, according to the California Building Industry Association.

During the first 11 months of the year, the number of permits issued for single-family homes fell 35 percent from the same period in 2008. A total of 409 permits were issued in the first 11 months of last year, compared to just 266 in the same period of 2009, according to statistics compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board.

In November alone, only 17 permits were issued. That’s compared to 34 in November 2008.

Permits for multi-family homes did not fare better. The number of permits issued dropped to 72 in the first 11 months of 2009 from 151 in the same period in 2008, a 52 percent decline.

This year was another record-low year for home production across California, the association reported.

During the first 11 months of the year, permits were pulled for 32,558 units, down 46 percent from the same period last year when 60,304 permits had been issued. The Construction Industry Research Board expects to finish the year with 35,600 total units, by far the lowest total since records started being kept in 1954.

“We’re on track to set another record for production this year, but it’s not a record anyone is happy about,” said Liz Snow, president and CEO of the association.

“The housing sector is a very important component in California’s overall economy, and the fact that this is the second year in a row with record-low production numbers does not bode well for job creation and a broader economic recovery in the near future,” she said.

The association hopes the recently expanded federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers will generate some activity in 2010.

— Julie Lynem