Construction started on a record number of new homes in Ottawa last year, as real estate agents warn a lack of supply is a major issue in the housing market.

The 2020 city of Ottawa annual development report shows there were 9,239 new housing starts in 2020, the most in a year since amalgamation in 2001.

The 9,239 housing starts in 2020 is up 30.7 per cent from 2019.

When it comes to the type of housing being built, 3,816 apartment units were built, 2,733 were townhomes, 2,439 were single-detached homes and 251 were semi-detached homes.

A total of 11,339 residential unit permits were issued in 2020, up 20.3 per cent from 2019 and the most permits issued since amalgamation.

The percentage of housing permits issued inside the Greenbelt increased to 50.4 per cent of all permits in 2020 from 36.5 per cent in 2019.

"This increase was due to a large number of apartment units that received building permits inside the Greenbelt in 2020," said staff in a report for Monday's Planning Committee meeting.

Staff say 43.56 per cent of new units issued permits were near existing Ottawa LRT stations, maintstreets and the Central Area of Ottawa.

A new report this week raised concerns about supply levels in the Ottawa housing market.

"Supply is likely to increase slightly in 2022, but low levels are expected to remain a concern," said Remax in its housing market outlook, adding housing prices will increase five per cent in 2022.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board said last month that the only way to find "balance" in Ottawa's real estate market is to increase the housing supply "exponentially."

Ottawa's population increased 1.6 per cent in 2020 to 1,022,604.

At the end of 2020, there were 435,747 households in Ottawa, up 1.6 per cent from the year before.