January turned out to be a tale of two markets for new home construction in Calgary, Edmonton and across Alberta.
According to data released on Friday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., there’s a clear difference in the province between single-detached construction and all other new homes, primarily in the multi-family sector.
For the Calgary census metropolitan area, single-detached housing starts of 269 were down by 17 per cent from a year ago while all other new home starts rose by 32 per cent to 431 units.
In the Edmonton census metropolitan area, it was a similar story as single-detached starts fell by 29 per cent year over year to 211 while all other housing starts rose by 38 per cent to 579 units.
The CMHC reports on the housing starts trend across Canada and measures uses a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates.
For January, the trend in Canada was 208,131 units compared to 207,171 units in December 2018.
“After recent declines, the national trend in housing starts held steady in January and remained above historical average,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, in a statement. “While single-detached starts continued to trend lower in January, this was offset by an uptick in the trend for multi-unit dwellings in urban centres.”
Royce Mendes, an economist with CIBC Economics, said it was another solid month for Canadian housing starts.
“The pace of building activity decelerated in January, but still clocked in at 208,000, the fourth month in a row that starts have printed above 200,000, with this month’s activity coming despite the return to colder weather,” he said.
“That said, the strength was again focused in the multi-unit segment, with singles making up for all of the decline on the month. Multi-unit building tends to be volatile, so the recent strength could turn out to be transitory, although the most recent building permit data suggest that it could continue for the next few months. Looking further ahead, we still expect a slower pace to building activity this year than last, given the dampening effects of stricter mortgage rules and higher interest rates.”
– Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary’s Business