Pace of New Home Construction Moderates in Calgary Region

CALGARY — The pace of new home construction in the Calgary region moderated in November, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The agency said housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area were down to 990 during the month, off from 1,106 a year ago.

Multi-family starts dropped to 479 units from 660 in November 2011 but single-detached starts rose to 511 from 446 last year.

Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC, said the pace of total housing starts in November was comparable to the average experienced over the last six months.

"The pace of new home construction has moderated from the elevated levels reported in the middle of the year, mainly due to fewer apartment units breaking ground," he said.

Year-to-date, total starts in the Calgary region are 11,975, up from 8,322 for the same period a year ago. Single-detached starts of 5,433 have risen from 4,619 while the multi-family sector is up to 6,542 from 3,703 in 2011.

Robert Kavcic, economist with BMO Capital Markets, said Alberta notched a solid gain in November, "and starts are within a hair of the highest level since early 2008 amid relatively strong housing momentum on the Prairies."

In November, the annualized rate of starts in Alberta was 38,900, up from 33,300 in October.

But nationally, Canadian housing starts dipped 3.6 per cent in November to 196,125 annualized units, slightly weaker than expected and down from 203,487 in October, said Kavcic.

"The modest decline is consistent with what appears to be a softly-landing housing market, at least in the vast majority of the country," he said. "With national sales down about 10 per cent since the spring high, and given that construction tends to lag demand, the surge in starts to above 250,000 in April is looking increasingly like a near-term high for Canadian residential construction."

David Madani, economist in Canada for Capital Economics, said the declining trend in housing starts in Canada supports its view that a housing correction is underway.

"The slump in new and existing home sales suggest that this slowdown will worsen next year, hitting the domestic economy fairly hard," he said.

Sonya Gulati, senior economist with TD Economics, said homebuilding in Canada has noticeably softened in the last few months.

"This slower pace of activity was largely expected given what has taken hold in the resale housing market in the second half of the year," she said. "Over the past few years, construction projects have also been exceeding demand fundamentals, a trend which is simply not sustainable."


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald


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Alicia Colquhoun

Alicia Colquhoun

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