Multiple-unit starts in B.C. spark September rebound in new-home construction

B.C.’s residential housing construction continued to rebound in September with another boost in new-home starts as starts continued to slow on a nationwide basis, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Friday.

Builders started work on 2,305 new homes in B.C. in September, bringing the province’s total starts to 17,791 for the first nine months of 2010, a 91-per-cent increase from the same period of 2009. However, September’s starts, extrapolated over 12 months, raised the pace of construction to 26,500 units on what economists call the seasonally adjusted annual rate.

“A pick up in the pace of multiple-unit starts was behind the upward trend,” Carol Frketich, CMHC’s B.C. regional economist, said in a news release. “The rate of single-detached starts remained relatively stable, while the rate of multiple-unit starts rose to 18,200 [on a seasonally adjusted annual rate] in September from 11,700 in July.”

Metro Vancouver accounted for 71 per cent of B.C.’s total September housing starts with builders beginning work on 1,644 homes.

“Multiple family units dominated September’s residential construction activity in [Metro Vancouver],” market analyst Robyn Adamache said. “Although most of the new multiple family units built were apartment condominiums, we are starting to see a growing number of homes with secondary suites being constructed.”

CMHC reported that Metro Vancouver saw 1,251 multi-family starts in September, up from just 489 in the same month a year ago during the bottom of the construction downturn.

Single-family home starts in September were down to 393 in Metro Vancouver from 453 in August, and not too far ahead of September of 2009.

September’s housing-starts figures follow from the release of August building-permit statistics by Statistics Canada on Thursday.

Those statistics showed a significant bump in the value of residential building permits issued to builders, which Adamache said was the result of builders jumping back into multi-unit developments in a bigger way.

Nationally, the annual pace of home construction slowed to 186,400 units in September from 189,300 units in August, CMHC reported.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

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