Housing production in California was up in November for the fourth consecutive month. But builders in the Golden State are still on track to start the third lowest number of units on record in 2011.

According to the Construction Industry Research Board, 4,011 housing permits were issued in November, a 21% increase from the same month a year ago and a 51% jump from October. Permits were issued for 1,486 single-family houses, up 4% from November 2010 but down 1% from the previous month.  Multifamily permits totaled 2,525, a 33% gain from a year ago and a huge 123% leap from October.

For the first 11 months of the year, permits were pulled for 41,123 total units. That's a welcome 8% increase compared to the same period in 2010, when 38,074 permits were issued. Permits for single-family homes were down 12% for the period, but multifamily permits were up 36%.

Mike Winn, president of the California Building Industry Association, called the November figures “heartening.”

“We do seem to be recovering, albeit at a very slow rate which is not enough to signal any meaningful impact on jobs or the economy,” Winn said.

The research board is still projecting a total of 46,000 residential permits for the year, which would make 2011 the third worst year since it began tracking permits in 1954. The all-time low was set in 2009, when a total of 36,421 permits were taken down by builders. The second-lowest year was 2010, when 44,762 permits were issued.

“These past few years have taken a massive toll on our state's employment rate and economy,” said Winn. “Hopefully this trend of increased production over the past four months is a sign of better times to come in 2012.”

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