Construction began on 160 new single-family homes in Prince George and surrounding area during 2012, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing numbers released Wednesday.
That's up from 116 during 2011, but still well below the 14-year peak of 288 witnessed in 2007 before the economic meltdown.
Prince George Homebuilders Association president Allen Creuzot said something closer to 250 starts would be preferable but characterized the year as "not bad."
"Everybody kept fairly busy," Creuzot said. "Whenever you were trying to get trades, they were swamped and what I found was that towards the end of the year people started getting really busy."
Indeed, there were starts on 10 new single-family homes in December, compared to just three over the same month in 2011. And in November, there were 18 starts, more than double the seven seen in 2011.
Creuzot expects the momentum to continue into 2013 although he fears the election of an NDP government to the provincial legislature could dampen the numbers.
Changes to the B.C. Building Code are also pending, he noted, aimed largely at improving homes' energy efficiency but with a concurrent impact of adding onto the cost of building a new house.
Looking at multiple-family, there were starts on 51 units in 2012, 10 more than in 2011 but 11 fewer than in 2010.