Housing-Start Stats in Northumberland Are Encouraging

In Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
The rate at which new houses are being built in Northumberland County is in line with the growth forecasts it had hoped for.

Acting Director of Economic Development, Planning and Strategic Initiatives Dwayne Campbell shared the news at the March meeting of county council’s Economic Development, Tourism and Planning Committee.

“After many, many hours of sifting through probably 2,000 building permits from seven local municipalities, we have condensed it into a nice 10-or-11-page report, as we do every year, to track both residential and non-residential activity across the county,” Campbell said.

Of the 685 new residential units (with a total construction value of $380,547,441), 57% are in Cobourg. And the number of units in Brighton increased significantly over the previous year.

Otherwise, Campbell said, “everyone else had a decline.”

However, he continued, if you look at it on a regional scale, “the grown is happening. It’s somewhat skewed towards Cobourg and Brighton, but it does match what our own growth forecast for the county was and is, moving forward.”

Campbell added a new heading to his report on what’s in the planning pipeline – current development proposals being considered across the county. The 4,835 residential units at various stages of the planning process “are aligned with our current forecast for the next 10, 20 and 30 years. There’s definitely no shortage of development, no shortage of growth happening for Northumberland County on the residential side.”

In the event all of these projects reach fruition, he said, “we would have construction for the next 10 years – and that does not include development applications coming in this year already.”

The mix of housing is also noteworthy, detached units still the most popular but also a mix of semi-detached, townhouse and multi-residential units.

Committee Chair Mandy Martin commented on the increasing interest in accessory residential units, which are also growing in number. Campbell said most of these are in the nature of a basement apartment, and that applications for most of them seem to come from residents in existing developments as opposed to those living in newer construction – “though there are a few where developments have started to recognize the benefit of putting in a legal basement apartment or upper floor of a detached house as a selling feature.

“But most of them are retrofit as a result of various reasons.”

“I know I can only speak to my municipality and the land-use planning policies we have put in place,” added committee member Brian Ostrander – the Mayor of Brighton.

“We now require developers of new subdivisions to have a minimum of 10% purpose-built for secondary units.”

This not only helps purchasers afford their new homes, he said – it takes a bit out of the housing crunch that is being experienced everywhere.

“That’s interesting – when did you enact that?” Martin asked.

Ostrander said they made the move near the end of the previous term of council.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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