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ORANGE COUNTY, CA-Construction activity in the county’s multifamily sector dropped significantly in September from its steady summer levels, as multifamily developers reacted to the Sept. 11 attacks and a weakened economy.

The number of construction permits issued in September dropped to a mere 89 from 264 in the previous month, according to a recent report by the Burbank-based nonprofit Construction Industry Research Board. “There was definitely a break in the number of permits issued on Sept. 12 and 13 and the level of activity didn’t come back for a week or so,” says Ben Bartolotto, CIRB director. He says that some multifamily developers have postponed projects as a result of the attacks.

However, Bartolotto does anticipate that data collected this month will show a pickup in activity. “We may see something that looks like a rebound in October,” he says.

As multifamily construction waned, the average rent for an Orange County apartment shot up to $1,204 in September. Rents here rose 3% in the first nine months of the year, according to a new report by RealFacts, a Novato-based real estate research firm.

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