Kamloops City on Construction Target

This article appeared in the Kamloops This Week on August 17, 2011 and was written by Jeremy Deutsch.

Kamloops New Home ConstructionJust when construction activity was looking tepid in the Tournament Capital, along came July.

Though the number of residential permits did drop last month, overall construction value topped that of July 2010, according to the city’s building-permit department.

The city handed out $14 million in building permits in July, compared to $10 million during the same month in 2010.

So far in 2011, the city has recorded $97 million in construction activity, compared to $126 million through the same span last year.

The solid numbers from July seem to have caught city hall by surprise.

David Trawin, director of development and engineering services, said it appears Kamloops will meet its target for the year.

In 2010, the city issued $191-million worth of building permits, but expected that number to drop in 2011 to about $140 million.

“Will we hit the $190 million we hit last year? No. We’re definitely not going to and I don’t think we expected to,” Trawin said.

He also expects August construction numbers to be similarly steady.

Part of the month’s strong showing was the result of a big jump for commercial construction.

The city issued $4.6-million in commercial-building permits for the month, a significant increase from the $300,000 value in July 2010.

The number of single-family permits issued in July hit 13, a little more than half of the 21 permits issued at the same time last year.

The city handed out $7.2-million worth of residential permits last month, compared to $9.3 million in July 2010.

Kamloops has only topped the $200-million mark in permits once, in 2008, when it doled out $207-million worth of permits, which remains a record.

Housing starts in Kamloops were also down last month.

According to statistics from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the number of single-family housing starts in July dropped to 26 from 35 the previous year.

However the number of multi-family starts did increase —  to 56 from seven in July 2010.

Overall, housing starts have dropped by 18 per cent in Kamloops so far this year.

The drop in starts in Kamloops is still not as steep as other communities in the region, such as Penticton and Vernon, which recorded declines of 73 and 44 per cent, respectively.