November 23rd, 2017

Homebuilders remain busy

By Mabell, Dave on August 11, 2017.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

Fort McMurray is rebuilding remarkably.But Lethbridge homebuilders remain the most productive among Alberta’s other mid-sized cities.

With 63 homes started during July – about two a day – builders in the Lethbridge census area have now started work on 366 housing units since the start of the year. In comparison, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports Red Deer has seen 139 starts, Grande Prairie 121 and Medicine Hat just 61.

But in Fort McMurray, where only 13 housing units were started over the first seven months of 2016, the CMHC says an amazing 994 had been started by the end of July this year as the city rebuilds from last year’s devastating wildfire.

In Alberta’s major cities, meanwhile, a recovering economy has spurred 6,671 starts in metro Calgary – up from 4,951 at the same point last year – while greater Edmonton is up more than 1,200 to 6,943 starts.

Apartments, condominiums and townhouses account for more than half of the new housing units in the big cities, single-family accommodation is the more common choice in the province’s midsized centres. But the CMHC says 89 multi-family units are included in year-to-date figures for the Lethbridge area, vs. 24 in both Red Deer and Grande Prairie.

At city hall – where officials count building permits, not actual construction starts – July-end reports show 241 single-family homes launched this year, at a value of more than $33 million. Sixteen permits for multi-family projects have also been issued, totalling more than $14 million.

The balance of the Lethbridge-area homes were started in Coaldale, Coalhurst or smaller communities within Lethbridge County.

On the industrial front, 33 projects totalling more than $6 million are shown on the city’s reports, along with 80 commercial plans worth more than $20 million.

Government and institutional projects remain the largest items on the city’s books, with about $185 million worth currently underway. They brought Lethbridge’s building permit totals to $247.5 million by the end of July, compared with $152.5 million at the same point one year ago.

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