California 2018 residential building permit trends barely surpass 2017

2018 total housing unit statistics in California reveal less than 1% increase from 2017. Read more to see which organizations had accurate forecasts and who missed the mark.

At the end of January 2019, we published the December 2018 California Construction Review (CCR).

Everyone had been patiently awaiting those final numbers that would complete 2018 building permits issued, only to be severely underwhelmed with the findings:

  • Total New Housing Units 2017: 115,670
  • Total New Housing Units 2018: 116,132*

The monthly trends weren’t promising, so the final number didn’t take us by complete surprise, but to only see a 462-unit difference year-over-year was much less than anticipated.

In the end, combined single- and multifamily units in 2018 beat 2017 totals by a whopping 0.40%, but the other industry forecasts had a much more positive outlook:

Legislative Analyst Office (LAO): 117,000
Construction Industry Research Board: 119,978
UCLA Business Forecasting Project: 121,320
California Economic Forecast: 124,408

The LAO’s conservative projection was the closest, but still higher than the actual number of housing units issued. These forecasts are included in our 2017 Annual Building Permit Summary report.

*Keep in mind, this 116,132-unit total is preliminary until our final 2018 numbers are published in the Annual Building Permit Summary report due for release this June 2019.

However, if you want to receive a free copy of this Annual publication, email us at to subscribe to the 2019 monthly Construction Review.