Housing starts decline felt strongest in Red Deer

Residential construction starts in Alberta’s largest cities continue to lag well behind last year’s pace, with the decrease most pronounced in Red Deer last month.

Residential construction starts in Alberta’s largest cities continue to lag well behind last year’s pace, with the decrease most pronounced in Red Deer last month. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported on Monday that work started on just 22 homes in May, with 14 of those single-family houses and eight of the units in multi-family projects. That’s down 85 per cent from May 2008, when there were 40 single-family starts and 104 in the multi-family category. Among the province’s seven largest urban centres, the Calgary metropolitan area experienced the second biggest drop at 68 per cent. Next was the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo at 67 per cent, followed by Grande Prairie (down 61 per cent), Medicine Hat (down 56 per cent), the Edmonton metropolitan area (down 41 per cent) and Lethbridge (down 32 per cent). The average drop was 61 per cent. Compared to last year after five months, housing starts in Red Deer in 2009 are 67 per cent lower, with only 95 projects (77 single-family and 18 multi-family) started as of May 31. In the Calgary metropolitan area the year-to-date drop is 78 per cent, while in both the Edmonton metropolitan area and Medicine Hat the slide was 59 per cent, in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo it was 58 per cent, in Lethbridge it was 56 per cent and in Grande Prairie it was 36 per cent. The average for the seven urban areas was 70 per cent. Nationally, CMHC reported that the annual rate of housing starts increased to 128,400 in May from 117,600 in April. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased 11.1 per cent to 107,800 in May. May’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased 22 per cent in Ontario, 16.8 per cent in the Prairies, 7.3 per cent in Atlantic Canada, and 3.3 per cent in Quebec, while they fell five per cent in British Columbia.

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