Building activity in St. Albert is on pace to exceed 2009 levels, led by construction starts in single-family homes and commercial space.
According to the third-quarter building permit report issued by the City of St. Albert, the value of new single-family homes that started construction in the first nine months topped $57 million. While this represents a 15 per cent increase over last year, activity is still just half the value posted during the peak of 2007.
“This year was a little up and down,” said Carol Wallace, development manager for Melcor, which developed land in St. Albert’s Erin Ridge area.
This year the residential sector was busy in the spring, slowed down in the summer and has picked up again in the fall, Wallace said.
“I get the feeling that 2011 is going to be, not busier than this year, but steadier,” she said.
The new home market is affected by activity in the resale market, which has slowed in recent months, said Richard Goatcher, senior market analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
“New building activity so far has been fairly robust … but considering the resale market environment, we would expect to see some slowdown in new construction over the next six months,” Goatcher said.
On the commercial side, the value of permits are $6.2 million, up 68 per cent over last year. This is because there were two new construction projects that began in 2010, along with about the same number of renovations as last year.
Looking back over a longer period, commercial construction activity in 2010 is still well below levels posted in each of the years between 2005 and 2008 when the third-quarter average was $18.7 million.
On the commercial-industrial side, the segment is way down to $7.4 million compared to $34.9 million last year. However, last year’s figures included the start of the Enjoy Centre, a project valued at $25 million at the time, said Larry Horncastle, St. Albert Business and Tourism Development.
The average for that segment is $5.8 million between 2005 and 2008, so 2010 activity is slightly higher, Horncastle said.
“There’s certainly more confidence in the economy. I think that businesses are starting to feel a little more positive,” he said.
His department sets a target of $10 million in commercial and industrial development each year. Those two segments have already seen a total of about $13.5 million in construction starts.
“I don’t think we’ll see a lot of new starts for the last quarter of the year,” he said.