Housing starts are already close to 2012 numbers
With three months remaining in 2013, local builders had nearly exceeded the number of housing starts recorded in Red Deer during all of last year.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported on Tuesday that work had begun on 566 homes in the city from January to September. That marked a 27 per cent increase over the nine-month tally of 447 in 2012, and was just two starts shy of last year’s total.
As of Sept. 30, there were 294 starts on single-detached homes in the city, up from 262 the previous year. Multi-family projects added 272, as compared with 185 for the same period in 2012.
In September alone, there were 47 housing starts in Red Deer, including 29 single-detached projects. Last September, there were 20, with all of these coming in the single-detached category.
In the case of Alberta’s urban municipalities with 50,000 or more people, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo had seen more housing starts this year than for the same period in 2012. Calgary, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat all experienced decreases.
Among communities with 10,000 to 49,999 residents, the city of Lacombe had 56 starts on single-detached homes and 19 in multi-family projects from January to September. That was down from the same period in 2012, when there were 60 single-detached starts and 111 in the multi-family category.
The town of Sylvan Lake was up when it came to single-family projects, to 97 from 92; and also multi-family development, to 89 units from 80.
Nationally, the pace of housing starts picked up in September, boosted by a jump in projects such as condos, townhouses and apartments, said CMHC.
“The slight firming in the trend level of housing starts is consistent with the renewed strength seen in the existing home market this year,” TD Bank economist Leslie Preston said in a report.
“However, we continue to expect that the extended period of overbuilding in the Canadian housing market is on its last legs. Putting some perspective on today’s number, the trend pace of homebuilding is 16 per cent below last year’s peak.”
The pickup in housing starts came as sales of existing homes also gathered steam.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reported last month that August sales through the Multiple Listings Service were up 11.1 per cent from a year ago when Ottawa tightened mortgage rules and sent a chill through the market.
Since then, however, home sales have bounced back, helped by interest rates which, until recently, have remained near record lows.
CMHC said Tuesday that the increase in housing starts came as starts in urban areas rose 4.3 per cent in September and multiple-unit projects increased 5.9 per cent. Urban starts of single-family homes increased 1.4 per cent.
Royal Bank economist David Onyett-Jeffries said the strength is consistent with the pickup in resales over the past six months.
“As we move into 2014, we anticipate that the demand for housing will moderate as affordability deteriorates against a backdrop of elevated home prices and rising interest rates and result in a moderation in new home construction,” Onyett-Jeffries said.
Regionally, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Atlantic Canada, the Prairies, British Columbia and Quebec and fell in Ontario.
With files from The Canadian Press.