Permit statistics stay strong for multifamily in March 2020

March multifamily permit statistics increase in California despite COVID impacts. Will it last?


The CIRB (Construction Industry Research Board) Report‘s March 2020 California Construction Review (CCR) shows positive growth in statewide multifamily permit totals both monthly and year-to-date.

Though March was anticipated to reflect the economic impacts of COVID-19 on homebuilding, April may be the month to watch out for.

Key takeaways from the CIRB March 2020 Construction Review:

  • New housing units in building permits issued for the month of March 2020 are down 7% from February of 2020 and down 6% from March of 2019.
  • Multifamily units increased by 26% in March 2020 compared to February 2020 and increased by 7% from March 2019.
  • Statewide housing unit totals for the first three months of 2020 increased 3.4% year-to-date.
  • The largest project in March 2020 was a $139 million equipment building in the city of Los Angeles.

Energy Statistics:

  • In March 2020, 3,002 statewide residential and commercial HVAC changeout units were issued, producing a 50% month-to-month decrease in activity.
  • Monthly residential and commercial solar permit activity in March 2020 indicated a 25% decrease from installations permitted in March 2019.
  • Residential and commercial electric vehicle (EV) charger permits for the month of March 2020 cumulated 114 statewide.

Employment Trends (Source: California Employment Development Department):

  • The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4% in March 2020, increasing by 0.9% from February 2020.
  • The unemployment rate for California employees in March 2020 was 5.6%, increasing by 1.3% from February 2020.

Click here to download the monthly permit reports for March 2020>>

How is COVID-19 affecting California’s 5 major economic regions? The Economic Outlook – Spring 2020 is a succinct compilation for Spring 2020 that delivers up-to-date analysis of leading indicators driving the economy. Click here to download.

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