COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — As the Columbus metro area continues to combat low housing supply, residential new construction starts increased over the year.

The first 11 months of 2021 saw a 19% increase in single and multifamily housing units compared to 2020, according to data from Dodge Data and Analytics. The month of September saw the most new construction starts with about $315 million, followed by June and July, with about $304 and $301 million respectively.

That’s a typical seasonal pattern, said Jon Melchi, executive director of the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio.

“If you think back historically, residential construction has typically been at its highest in those summer months and early fall,” Melchi said.

Melchi said this timing could have aligned with more industries returning to work and working through some of the supply chain hiccups that have delayed construction throughout the year.

The Columbus metro area includes Delaware, Franklin, Fairfield, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Pickaway and Union counties.

According to the data, the first 11 months of 2021 saw more than $2.8 billion in new residential construction starts. That’s an increase from the same time last year, which had about $2.37 billion of new residential construction starts.

January 2021 saw the fewest new residential construction starts with $169 million, according to the data. It and February were the only two months with less than $200 million.

There were some months with fewer residential starts than 2020.

Residential construction starts fell 10% in November in the Columbus metro area, from $272 million in 2020 to $244 million in 2021.

The overall growth in new residential construction starts is because of the high demand and low supply for housing in Central Ohio, Melchi said. He also said as people contemplate working from home more, the possibility of them being able to design a home that directly meets their needs is an attractive feature.

Brent Swander, CEO of Columbus Realtors, said the area is not building enough to keep up with its surging population. Columbus saw an annual net population gain of 5,453 from 2015 to 2019, according to a report from real estate website Commercial Cafe.

Swander said the area is not building quickly enough to accommodate that growing demand. To build faster, he said rezoning and building permit processes need to be expedited.

“We have to build more units, we have to provide more land-use certainty,” Swander said.

The Columbus metro area saw nonresidential new construction increase as well, with about $3.06 billion in the course of 11 months, according to the data. The entire time period saw just less than $5.87 billion in new construction starts.

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