The value of construction in the District of Columbia jumped 28 percent in 1980 over a year earlier, but the metropolitan area as a whole suffered a decline of 13 percent, according to a new survey of public and private construction permits issued in the metropolitan area.
In suburban Virginia, construction dropped 20.4 percent, while in Maryland if fell by 15.5 percent in 1980 compared with 1979.
Fairfax County continued to lead the area in the value of construction -- $460 million, accounting for one quarter of the metro area total. Even so, that county suffered a decrease in construction of 34 percent in 1980 from 1979.
The survey, which was compiled by Jane Hoffman of The Washington Post's research department from Commerce Department figures, attributes the slackening in construction activity to rising interest rates.
The District showed gains in both residential and nonresidential activity as the value of permits rose to $263.5 million, the survey found.
In 1980, Metro homeowners increasingly chose to renovate existing dwellings rather than to build new ones. The survey shows that permits for additions and alterations were up 8.7 percent ($18.9 million) to $236 million, accounting for 14 percent of the area's total construction.
In Maryland, private and public construction permits issued in Montgomery County rose by 2 percent, but in Prince George's they were off 32.8 percent and in Charles 43.5 percent.
In Virginia, meanwhile, permits issued in Alexandria dropped by 28 percent in 1980, while they were up by 31.6 percent in Arlington, 77.2 percent in Fairfax City, and 17.4 percent in Falls Church. Other suburban Virginia counties: Prince William off 3 percent, Manassas City off 46.9 percent, and Loudoun up 26.1.
About 21,000 housing units were authorized last year in the Washington area, down 8 percent from 1979.
While permits for housing construction were off, commitments for nonresidential construction (offices, commercial and industrial) enjoyed a 28 percent increase in 1980 over the year earlier.
The District posed a 56 percent increase in issuing nonresidential construction permits, while Maryland and Virginia fell behind their 1979 totals by 38 percent and 43 percent respectively. However, Virginia continued to account for over half of the nonresidential dollars committed.