Wildfires cause dip in new California housing units

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2015 file photo, CalFire firefighter Bo Santiago lights a backfire as the Rocky fire burns near Clearlake, Calif. A new study by the Public Policy Institute of California says dying wildlife, bigger wildfires and drying-up farm towns will be the biggest crises if California's four-year drought continues. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson, File)


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State figures show the number of new housing units in California declined last year for the first time since the start of the economic recovery, due mostly to wildfires that scorched more than 2,000 homes.

The California Department of Finance reports Monday that the state’s housing supply rose by just over 67,000 units last year.

That compares with nearly 69,500 new units in 2014. Demographers say the number of new units would have been about the same if not for the destructive wildfires in Lake and Calaveras counties.

The housing hit came as California’s population grew to 39.1 million last year, an increase of 348,000 people, just under 1 percent.

Most of the state’s 482 cities saw population gains; Los Angeles surpassed 4 million.

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