August brought a big surge in single-family home construction in the London area, with a number of starts up more than 50 per cent from a year before.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) said there were 211 single-family housing starts in the London-St. Thomas area in August compared to 135 in the same month last year. It was the largest number of single-detached homes for the month of August since 2004.
“(This is) driven largely by continued demand spillover from the resale market. Heightened demand in the resale market can largely be attributed to strong population growth, especially in the 65 and over age category,” said Amran Wali, CMHC market analyst.
The demand for single-family homes is putting pressure on city officials to meet the demand for serviced building lots. On Monday the city’s planning and environment committee was asked to approve nearly 500 homes in four proposed developments between Sunningdale Road in the north and Colonel Talbot Road in the south.
The number of starts in the more volatile multi-family sector was down in August. The CMHC reports 187 starts last month compared to 273 in August 2016.
Overall there were 398 housing starts last month, slightly below the 408 starts recorded last August.
So far this year, there have 2,581 housing starts in the London area this year, a 22 per cent increase over the same period in 2016.
That includes 1,208 single starts, up from 919, and 1,373 multi-family compared to 1,188 last year.
Across Canada, the estimated annual number of housing starts rose slightly last month to 223,200, led by Ontario. In Ontario, the annualized number of starts jumped to 95,000 with most of the activity in single-family starts in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Canadian homebuilding activity remains robust, and shows no signs of slowing . . . Notably, while Ontario housing starts are on pace for the best year in 14 years, population growth is running at the fastest rate since that time as well,” said BMO economist Robert Kavcic.