September was once again a tale of two markets in the Southern California residential construction industry, as the single-family housing market remains constrained by a poor economy and tight lending standards.

Multifamily permits accounted for 76 percent of all building permits pulled for home construction in Los Angeles County in September. In total, builders pulled 820 permits in September in the county, a 97.1 percent jump from last September, the Los Angeles and Ventura chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California said Monday. Total home building permits issued were down 40.5 percent from August.

During the first nine months of the year, builders in L.A. County have been mainly focused on apartments, pulling more than three times the number of multifamily permits than those for single-family homes. During the mid-2000s that figure was about 1.5 multifamily permits to every single-family home permit, BIA said.

As of September, single-family permits in L.A. County were down 2.3 percent this year, while multifamily permits were up about nearly 53 percent.

“Apartment construction in our region remains relatively strong due to demand for rental units in a troubled economy and because construction financing is far easier to obtain for rental projects than for-sale development,” Holly Schroeder, chief executive of BIA’s Los Angeles and Ventura chapter said in a statement.

One bright spot in single-family construction was in the Santa Clarita Valley. Builders pulled 45 single-family permits in the city and its surrounding unincorporated areas.

In Ventura County, 458 multifamily permits and 116 single-family permits were issued during the first nine months of 2011. However, September saw builders pull no multifamily permits and just 18 single family permits in the county.

The Construction Industry Research Board estimates home building statewide will notch up slightly this year compared to 2010, but single-family homes continue to lag. The researcher predicts construction for single-family homes will be the lowest since it began keeping records in 1954.

Andrew Khouri