third quarter was about the same as in the 1994 period, according to U.S. Housing Markets, published by Lomas Mortgage USA. But the flat performance masked a mixture of booms and busts in various regions of the country, the publication said. "New home construction is robust in the southeastern states, in the Oil Patch, and in the Rocky Mountains region," the report noted. "Housing is still comatose in Los Angeles, though some other Southern California markets show signs of recovery. Builders in the Puget Sound area - beneficiaries of the California exodus during the last five years - cut their activity sharply in the third quarter." The publication said multifamily construction expanded in the Great Lakes region, but one-family activity dropped. Rainy weather in the Northeast, along with a bleak employment picture, depressed the third- quarter environment there. Hot spots were Atlanta, which led the nation in number of permits issued at 14,061, an increase of 33%; and Las Vegas, No. 5 in number of permits and a gain of 41%. Las Vegas led the nation in permits per 1,000 population at 26, almost double that of No. 2 Raleigh. Miami-Fort Lauderdale was No. 8 nationwide despite a drop of 33% to 6,349 permits. The No. 2 Chicago area was flat at 10,801 permits, and No. 10 Denver showed a drop of 7% to 5,330. Other cities with sharp increases in one-family construction were Raleigh, N.C., Nashville, Memphis, San Antonio, Phoenix, San Diego, and Orange County, Calif.

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