By Medicine Hat News on May 29, 2021.

Housing construction activity will remain high into spring, according to new figures released this week by the City of Medicine Hats Planning Department. – News Photo Collin Gallant

Housing construction in Medicine Hat got off to its best start in five years this week, according to the city’s planning department.

In April, the department approved 81 projects across all categories with an estimated budget of $ 16.9 million. The total for the first four months of the year was $ 30.5 million, a mark that was only surpassed in 2018 when a $ 10 million apartment complex was approved in the spring.

Last month six more new residential permits were issued, bringing the total to 16 single-family homes by 2021. This is the highest value since 2017, but with an increase in the average value of 30 percent.

City administrators assign budget estimates that are largely based on area rather than actual cost of building materials and labor.

The values ​​have also increased for multi-family houses, which with new duplex, tri-plex and apartment spending for the month were above the previous year’s level.

Two new duplex approvals in April bring the total to eight projects by 2021, the combined values ​​of which with the construction of townhouses add up to a budget of approximately $ 5 million.

Other major renovation work also continued their upward trend: 22 garages approved in the first four months are twice as high as in the previous years in 2016. The comparison is similar for general renovation permits. Another 45 approvals last month adds up to 177 for the year and a combined value of $ 2.7 million.

Six institutional-grade new build or renovation projects per month were valued at $ 10.1 million. This was the result of grants for city projects at other levels of government and pandemic stimulus programs.

Commercial renovations in the private sector also increased, with 12 projects valued at $ 1.9 million. This brings the total to $ 4.7 million since the beginning of the year.