Housing starts rebound

Red Deer builders enjoyed a bigger year-over-year increase in housing starts last month than was the case in any of Alberta’s other major cities.

Red Deer builders enjoyed a bigger year-over-year increase in housing starts last month than was the case in any of Alberta’s other major cities.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has reported that work on 43 single-detached homes was initiated in the city last month, up from 21 in August 2008. In the case of starts related to multi-family units, the figure last month was 20, as compared with zero the previous year.

That combined 200 per cent increase in August housing starts topped the figures for Lethbridge, which experienced a 121 per cent jump; Edmonton, which was up 32 per cent jump; and Grande Prairie, which rose 28 per cent. August housing starts in Calgary, Medicine Hat and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo were all down in 2009.

CMHC market analyst Regine Durand commented last week that the Red Deer housing market was rebounding faster than her agency had previously anticipated. That prompted it to modify its forecast for local housing starts in 2009 to 430, from the 425 it was projecting as of May.

Fewer listings on the resale market and a decline in the inventory of unsold new homes were factors affecting the residential construction sector, she said.

So far this year, there have been 266 housing starts in Red Deer: 190 in the single-detached category and 76 multi-family units. That’s well behind the 392 starts accumulated to the same point in 2008, when there were 226 single-detached starts and 166 multi-family units.