CALGARY — Housing starts in the Calgary region remained at the same level as a year ago in October, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
The agency reported Thursday that total starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area of 980 were down just one unit compared with October 2011. Single-detached units rose by eight per cent during the month to 440 units while multi-family starts dipped by six per cent to 540.
“Calgary’s expanding economy has provided buyers an opportunity to either purchase their first home or move-up in the market. As a result, many of these buyers continue to turn to the new home market to satisfy their housing needs,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC.
To the end of October, single-detached starts reached 4,922 units, an increase of 18 per cent from 2011. Multi-family starts, which include semi-detached units, rows, and apartments, have reached 6,063 multi-family units year-to-date, up 99 per cent from the same period last year.
“Despite the anxieties in Europe, uncertainty in the U.S., and a faltering economy in other parts of Canada, Alberta remains remarkably stable,” said Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial. “The province’s balanced housing market has been one of the most convincing indicators of that.”
Construction started on 33,127 new homes in Alberta last month, essentially unchanged from September.
Over the first 10 months of 2012, total housing starts are higher by 33 per cent over the same 10 months of last year, he said.
Nationally, housing starts slipped to 204,107 units, down from 223,995 in September.
“Alberta’s housing market has held up better than most other provinces,” explained Hirsch. “The number of starts in October is only slightly below the 10-year average for theprovince (34,800). And if you omit 2006 and 2007 from the calculation — the two record-setting years for housing starts — last month’s figure is actually higher than average (31,300).
“A strong labour market, high average wages, and surging consumer sentiment have helped keep Alberta’s housing market on its feet. But almost most importantly, the province is once again a strong attractor of inter-provincial migrants — many of them moving to Alberta to find work. On a net basis, over 20,200 people from other provinces have moved to Wild Rose Country over the first half of 2012. That alone provides some strong incentive for home builders to keep swinging their hammers.”