Sonoma County builders pulled 318 new home permits in the first half of the year, a 25-percent jump from 2010 but still among the lowest results in decades.
Sonoma’s increase proved better than for much of the region north of San Francisco Bay, according to new data released Monday by the Construction Industry Research Board, an industry-funded research center in Burbank.
New home permits for the first six months were down slightly compared to a year earlier in Mendocino, Lake and Marin counties. The numbers were up slightly in Napa County.
Overall, new home permits for California totaled 22,888 for the first six months, up 5.7 percent from the same period last year. All that growth was from construction of new multi-family housing. Those permits increased by nearly 44 percent from a year earlier.
In contrast, the number of new single-family permits dropped 17 percent from a year ago.
The research board is predicting that California builders will construct 51,000 new houses, condos and apartments this year. That number would amount to an increase of almost 14 percent from 2010. Even so, the forecast for 2011 would join those of 2008 through 2010 as the lowest years in more than four decades.
As recently as 2006, state builders pulled permits for 164,000 new homes.
In Sonoma County, the number of new home permits averaged nearly 2,000 a year during the last two decades.
But when housing prices began to tumble four years ago, so did new the numbers of such permits. In 2009, builders pulled only 430 permits. Last year the number rose slightly to 464 new homes.
In the first six months of this year, Mendocino County reported 48 new home permits, compared to 64 for a year earlier. Lake County reported 12 permits, compared to 26 a year earlier.
Marin reported 21 permits, compared to 31 a year ago. Napa County reported 61 permits, up for 53 from a year earlier.
— Robert Digitale