In another sign that the Kitchener Waterloo economy is still very healthy, housing starts are up dramatically:
Apartment construction boosts housing starts
WATERLOO REGION — Fuelled by a surge in apartment building construction, housing starts in Waterloo Region rose 165 per cent in June compared to the same month last year.
Ground was broken on 388 units, up from 146 a year ago, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Friday.
June was a good month, but the first half of this year was also a busy one for builders in the region. Foundations have been poured for 1,566 units, the highest total in the past five years and 88 per cent more than the 831 units started for the first half of 2009, the agency said.
Of the units started last month, 175 were concentrated in two multi-unit projects, a 61-unit condo complex in Cambridge and a 114-unit apartment complex in Kitchener.
Construction of single-detached dwellings rose to 135 from 77 a year ago, townhouse starts increased to 64 from 25 while semis held steady at 14.
Kitchener and Cambridge were the busiest with 228 and 125 starts respectively. Waterloo was quiet with only 10 starts.
For the year to date, 692 detached homes have been launched in the region, up from 447 in 2009. Foundations have been poured for 572 apartment units compared to 831 last year.
“The strong level of apartment construction, as well as the increased demand for new homes in the latter part of 2009 and early 2010 were responsible for the strength of new residential construction this year,” Erica McLerie, an analyst with the housing corporation, said in a news release.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 189,300 in June, down 3.1 per cent from May.
The decline was largely due to fewer multiple-unit starts — condos and semi-detached homes — in Ontario, though most of the country has seen a softening in demand for residential construction permits in recent months.
The June figures support economists’ view that housing activity has peaked for the time being, says BMO Capital Markets economist Robert Kavcic.
“Despite recent softness, overall starts still remain above the estimated 175,000 rate of household formation, helping to build the case for further weakness in the coming months,” Kavcic wrote in a note.