Region of Waterloo sees record home construction in 2021

WATERLOO REGION — The frenetic pace of housing construction continued in Waterloo Region in 2021.

With $1.4 billion in permits issued for new residential construction, 2021 was the strongest year on record and 50% above the 10-year average of around $925 million.

“Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread impact on the economy, new residential construction activity in Waterloo Region has continued at a rapid pace, with a 6% increase in total value over to 2020,” says a report for planning for the region. committee next week.

Just over 6,000 new units were built in 2021, the second highest number on record after 2019. This number was well above the 10-year average of 4,208 new homes per year.

The most common type of house built in 2021 was an apartment, which accounted for 57% of new units in the region. About a quarter of the permits were for townhouses. The number of townhouses for which permits were issued nearly doubled in 2021, from 729 in 2020 to 1,432 last year.

Interestingly, there has been a big jump in the number of accessory units being added to existing homes – basement suites, duplex conversions, and single units such as lane homes or garden suites.

In 2012, only 67 permits were issued for these units across the Region. In 2020, the number reached 398 and jumped a further 37% to reach 546 units in 2021, or 9% of all new residential units. While the numbers aren’t huge, city planners welcome this increase in “soft density” because it makes efficient use of existing infrastructure such as roads and sewers, without significantly altering the feel of a neighborhood. .

Most of the new residential growth in 2021 has occurred in parts of the region that are already built up, rather than through the paving of virgin land. About 68% of new units were in built-up areas, well ahead of the region’s densification goal of 45%.

Housing in pristine areas is also becoming denser: single-family and semi-detached homes accounted for 53% of new homes in pristine areas in 2021, up from 69% a decade ago.

The vast majority of new homes were built in the three towns, but there were also 93 other units built in the townships, mainly in North Dumfries, which saw 85 new units.

Data on building permits is collected by the cities and cantons, which issue the permits, and the Region consolidates the information and analyzes it.