Housing starts in Red Deer fall in August

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported on Tuesday that housing starts in Red Deer dipped last month, as compared with the same period in 2013.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported on Tuesday that housing starts in Red Deer dipped last month, as compared with the same period in 2013.

The national housing agency said work began on 43 homes in the city in August, which was down 38 per cent from the 69 starts a year earlier. Last month’s total included 35 single-detached homes and eight units in multi-family projects; in August 2013 the corresponding numbers were 33 and 36.

From January to August inclusive, Red Deer builders have combined for 564 housing starts: 257 in the single-family and 307 in the multi-family categories. That tally was nine per cent higher than for the same eight-month period in 2013, when there were 265 single-detached starts and 254 multi-family starts, for a total of 519.

Among Alberta’s major cities, the pace of construction this year is up in Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer, but down in Edmonton, Grande Prairie and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Canada-wide, the annual rate of housing starts slowed in August, according to the CMHC.

“The Bank of Canada may be looking for a rotation away from housing and the consumer, but low rates continue to support residential investment,” said CIBC economist Nick Exarhos in a report.

“But despite recent resiliency, we still expect housing’s contribution to growth to slowly wane as we progress through this business cycle, with affordability concerns and a weak labour market putting pressure on the building sector going forward,” he said.

The federal agency said Tuesday that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts fell in August. Multiple urban starts and single-detached urban starts both decreased from July.

“The currently elevated level of inventory of newly completed and unoccupied condominiums, and units under construction, supports CMHC’s view that condominium starts will likely see a declining trend over the coming months as developers and builders seek to limit risks of over-building,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said.

“However, there may still be some variability from month to month as the number of presales for some planned condominium projects reaches sufficient levels to trigger project start.”

Regionally, the seasonally adjusted pace of urban housing starts fell in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, while it picked up in British Columbia and the Prairies.

Urban home starts were essentially unchanged in Quebec compared with July. The tick lower in the overall pace of housing starts followed a report Monday that municipalities issued $9.2 billion worth of building permits in July, driven higher in part by plans for apartment and condominium projects in Ontario and British Columbia.

The value of building permits issued was up 11.8 per cent from June and the fourth month in a row that they increased.

The housing market has been closely watched by the Bank of Canada. In its recent interest rate announcement, the central bank noted the housing market has been “stronger than anticipated.”

With files from The Canadian Press.

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