Housing starts increase in Calgary and across Canada

Article by Calgary Real Estate News Staff
According to preliminary figures released this week by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), total housing starts in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) totaled 732 units in October 2009, up from 599 units in the previous year. To the end of October, total housing starts declined from 10,460 units in 2008 to 4,829 in 2009.
Single-detached builders started work on 502 homes in October 2009, an increase of 38 per cent from the 365 units started in 2008. This represents the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year increases in single starts.
“Builders continued to increase starts in response to declining inventory levels and higher new home sales,” said Richard Cho, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Calgary.

“The recent up-tick in construction activity is expected to continue in the months ahead,” noted Cho.

To the end of October, there have been 3,612 single-detached units started, down four per cent from the previous year.
“Although new construction is down year-to-date, the recent rise in activity is bringing production closer to 2008 levels,” he added.

In October, there were 230 multi-family units that broke ground, down two per cent from a year earlier.

“The year-over-year decline in multi-family starts, which consists of semi-detached, row and apartment units, is less pronounced since we are no longer comparing to the elevated construction levels earlier in 2008,” said Cho.

After the first 10 months of the year, there have been 1,217 multi-family units started, down 82 per cent from 2008. “Multi-family construction is expected to remain low in the coming months as builders, especially those in the apartment segment, are still facing heightened inventory levels,” he noted.

Provincially, housing starts in Alberta’s seven largest centres totalled 2,179 units in October, up 30 per cent from October 2008. For census agglomeration areas, Medicine Hat and Red Deer reported a year-over-year increase in total housing starts.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts reached 157,300 units in October. This is an increase from 149,300 units started in September, according to CMHC.
“The improvement in housing starts in October is attributable to improvement in the multiple starts segment,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “Despite a small decline in single home starts in October, the level of single home starts remains at its second highest level since October 2008.”The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 5.2 per cent to 139,900 units in October. Urban multiple starts climbed 13.8 per cent to 72,600 units, while urban single starts declined by 2.7 per cent to 67,300 units in October.
October’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 15 per cent in British Columbia, by 14.8 per cent in Ontario, by 6.5 per cent in the Prairies and by 1.2 per cent in the Atlantic. The rate of urban starts decreased by 11.6 per cent in Quebec.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,400 units in October.

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making vital decisions.

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