Hopes for a modest turnaround in London's slumping construction market got some support from the city's July building permit report.
The city's building division issued 77 permits for single-family homes in July, just shy of 81 permits in the same month last year.
"We are cautiously optimistic that we are seeing some signs of rebound," said George Kotsifas, London city hall's director of building controls.
The housing sector was also boosted last month by a permit for Tricar's Residences of Hyde Park, a 182-unit apartment condo project.
Kotsifas said he expects other apartment developments before the end of the year.
Medallion Development of Toronto is expected to soon take out a permit for a 600-unit complex in Old East London.
Tricar's $20 million Hyde Park building is by far the largest multi-family project launched this year.
Tricar spokesperson Adam Carapella said the firm has completed two large rental buildings, Richmond Hill in North London and the downtown Renaissance building.
Carapella said the Renaissance has been filling up quickly, with 160 of the 270 units already rented.
"We had phenomenal success with our last two rental buildings but a lot of people were asking if they could buy," he said.
Carapella said the Hyde Park project, just south of Gainsborough Road, will have the same luxury finishes available in the Richmond Hill project.
"We built to the demand we were seeing in the marketplace," he said.
Work has begun on the 14-storey building and it should be completed by the fall of next year.
Despite hopes for a turnaround, the total value of building permits is still far behind the construction boom seen in the last five years.
The value of all building permits to the end of July was $245.5 million, just more than half of the $580 million issued in the first seven months of 2008.
"There is a still a lot of volume in permit but many are renovations and we aren't getting as many high value projects," said Kotsifas
The value of single detached permits from January to July totalled $68.5 million, compared to $120 million for the same period in 2008.
Only $28 million in permits for multi-family housing has been issued so far this year, compared to $103 million last year.
The institutional sector is far below levels set last year. Last year the sector was boosted by a single, $100-million project at the London Health Sciences Centre.
Kotsifas said the numbers aren't as dismal as they appear because the city is coming off a prolonged building boom that saw records tumble year-after-year.