Home-construction market heats up after slow start to 2018

New home construction in the London area continued to rebound in July after a slow start in the first five months of the year.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) said there were 248 housing starts in London-St. Thomas last month, up from 235 in July 2017.

The July total includes 92 multi-family units compared to 38 last year and 156 single-family homes, down from 197 last year. CMHC senior analyst Andrew Scott noted it was the second month in a row that overall housing starts have ticked upward.

“After a slow start to the year, multi-unit construction has picked up the pace. However, housing starts remain below the elevated numbers recorded in 2017,” he said.

Scott said the stock of housing under construction in the London area remains high and should put a damper on new starts for the rest of the year.

The drop in single-family units was also evident in the building permit figures released by city hall officials with permits for single-family homes down 34 per cent this year.

But part of the reason may not be a drop in demand, but a delay in construction caused by labour shortages.

Sue Wastell, president of the London Home Builders’ Association, said construction time for single-family homes has increased because of delays in getting skilled trades people to work on the homes.

Across Canada, the annualized estimate of housing starts fell sharply to 206,300 units in July.

But BMO economist Robert Kavcic said the drop was expected after a spike of 246,000 units in June, one of the highest totals in the past decade.Condo starts fell sharply, while single-family starts pulled back modestly.

Ontario saw the biggest drop in July, with 66,000 starts following a big wave of Toronto condo starts in June.

“Very robust levels of residential construction continue in Canada, with a 27-year high for population growth behind the strength. While Vancouver and Toronto rightfully get much of the attention, many markets have seen construction activity ramp up as a result,” said Kavcic.

hdaniszewski @ postmedia.com

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LONDON AREA HOUSING STARTS FOR JULY

(July 2017 in brackets)

Single-family: 156 (197)

Multi-family: 92 (38)

Total: 248 (235)

Year-to-date

Single-family: 874 (997)

Multi-family: 879 (1,186)

Total: 1,753 (2,183)

Read more news of London on our site.

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