London-area housing starts shot up 41 per cent in the first six months of 2016, thanks mainly to a couple of big apartment projects.
June was another big month for local housing construction. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) recorded 513 starts in London-St. Thomas last month, compared with 182 in June 2015.
“The trend in total housing starts soared to a new high in June, reaching its highest level during the last decade. A very low average vacancy rate in newer rental structures and higher interest in more affordable homes contributed to the elevated demand for multi-unit projects,” said Anthony Passarelli, a senior market analyst with CMHC.
The June total includes 338 multi-family starts. The big factor boosting the numbers was Medallion Development’s 299-unit apartment building at King and Lyle streets.
The 21-storey building is the third tower for the Toronto-based company in its Revo on King complex in Old East Village.
The newest Medallion building follows the start of Tricar Development’s Azure condo tower in downtown London in May.
Together the two projects have added almost 500 units, boosting the year-to-date total of multi-family starts for the first half of 2016 to 874 units, well ahead of 622 starts in the same period last year.
Single-family starts, considered a more reliable market indicator, also are trending up this year.
Construction began on 175 single-family homes last month, up from 121 in the same month last year.
That boosted the total number of housing starts this year to 1,520, up from 1,081 for the first six months of 2015.
Housing starts increased last month across Canada.
The CMHC raised the annualized estimate of housing starts to 197,918, up from 190,302 in May.
“Overall, June saw housing starts pick up pace in Canada, bolstered by apartment construction in Ontario, especially new condo construction in Toronto’s downtown core,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC chief economist.