The great SoCal slowdown: Homebuilding drops 18%

Amid nationwide housing market decline, SoCal developers tapped the brakes on construction but were still left with a big supply of unsold properties

Andy Reid, the President of MetroStudy
Andy Reid, the President of MetroStudy

Construction in Southern California has dropped 18 percent amid the largest supply of unsold homes in seven years.

In the first quarter, developers in the region had 8,829 residential units under construction, down by 1,950 compared to the same time last year, according to data from MetroStudy, as reported by the OC County Register. That’s the slowest rate since 2016, adding to the slowdown in the greater housing market.

The new data showed a surge of 3,750 newly finished homes that went unsold in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the Register reported. That amounts to 688 more units on the market, marking a 22-percent jump compared to last year.

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L.A. County alone had 935 finished unsold homes, up 5 percent from last year. L.A. now has 4,231 units under construction, down 2 percent since 2018. New-home sales for the quarter also fell by 32 percent, to 615 units.

The larger signs of trouble were in Orange County and Inland Empire, where finished homes for sale are up 32 percent and 29 percent since last year.

Home builders started slashing prices across the nation months ago, due to surging inventory and plummeting sales. Home price gains have also been slowing as a result in Southern California. [OC Register]Gregory Cornfield