Residential building stats show turn of tide in real estate

Midway through 2009, the cumulative value of building approved by the City of Red Deer is about half of what it was at the same point in 2008.

Midway through 2009, the cumulative value of building approved by the City of Red Deer is about half of what it was at the same point in 2008.

But activity at the city’s Inspections and Licensing Department last month suggests the construction tide might be turning — at least in the case of housing.

Municipal staff issued building permits for $10.2 million in residential work in June. That’s up 86 per cent from a year ago, when the residential permit tally was $5.5 million. It marks the first month this year that the 2009 value exceeded the 2008 figure.

Providing a $2.4-million boost were 36 permits to Carolina Homes Inc. for multi-family development at 31 Jamieson Ave.

Last June, multi-family projects contributed only $580,000 to the permit tally, noted Rachelle Trepanier of Inspections and Licensing.

The residential construction jump reflects more than a few big projects, however. Trepanier said 30 permits worth a combined $4.9 million were issued for single-family homes last month, more than double the 14 permits valued at $2 million that were recorded in June 2008.

“It seems to be picking up quite a bit,” confirmed Natalie Larkam, co-owner of Larkaun Homes Ltd. and president of the Central Alberta branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

Larkam said some builders might now be proceeding with homes that they struck deals on this spring.

She added that there is a good supply of residential lots in Red Deer, a situation that didn’t exist in early 2008.

“We have to remember that last year was a bit slower because of the lot inventory issue we were having.”

At $13.5 million, the combined value of building permits issued last month in all categories was still well behind the June 2008 total of $28.4 million.

Work on public projects, including $1.2 million for interior renovations to the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, generated $2.8 million. That compares with $20 million in the public category in June 2008.

Permits issued last month for commercial work, which were valued at $456,000, was also down from the June 2008 number of $2.8 million. As for industrial work, there was $33,000 worth of projects approved last month, a year-over-year drop from $70,000.

For the year to date, total permit values are at $59.1 million, as compared with $116.9 million for the first half of 2008.

Residential approvals this year are at $33.1 million, down from $63.9 million; commercial permits are up to $9.1 million, as compared with $26.2 million last year; industrial work has contributed $780,000, versus $3.9 million in 2008; and public construction and renovations are up to $16.2 million, a decline from $23 million.

In 2007, $174.6 million worth of permits had been issued by the end of June. That year ended with a record $421.1 million in building approvals.

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