Housing starts in the London-St. Thomas continue to lag behind last year, mainly due to a lack of big apartment projects.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) says there were 185 housing starts in May compared to 235 in the same month last year.
May continued the same trend seen earlier this year.
The number of single-detached starts is still holding strong at 142 last month, two more than in May 2017.
But there were only 43 multi-family starts, compared to 95 in the same month last year.
Last year, spinoff from the unusually strong resale home market helped push the annual number of housing starts to a record 3,967 units. The old record, 3,674 starts, was set back in 2006.
CMHC analyst Andrew Scott said multi-family starts are falling short of 2017’s record-breaking pace.
“Nevertheless, key support continues to come from the less volatile number of single-detached starts. Strong spillover demand from a tight resale market has kept single-detached numbers in solid territory,” said Scott.
A number of large apartment buildings are in the planning stages in London, but none of them broke ground in May.
So far this year there have been 588 single-detached starts, slightly more than the January to May last year.
But there have been only 307 starts for apartments, townhouses and duplexes, less than half the total of last year.
In total there have been 895 housing starts this year, well below the 1,383 in the same period last year.
Across Canada there was an unexpected pullback in housing starts last month.
The CHMC said the estimated annual number of housing starts fell 9.8 per cent to 195,600 annualized units in May, marking the first month below the 200,000 level in a year.
The biggest drop was in urban multi-family starts, with activity in Ontario down sharply for the last three months.
“Residential construction has shown signs of slowing with the double whammy of tougher mortgage rules and rising mortgage rates, combined with fewer ready-to-build lots and permit delays,” said Priscilla Thiagamoorthy of BMO Capital Markets.
LONDON AREA HOUSING STARTS
(2017 in brackets)
Single-detached 142 (140)
Multi-family 43 (95)
Total 185 (235)
Single-detached 588 (571)
Multi-family 307 (812)
Total 895 (1,383)