Housing starts tumble

Housing starts in Red Deer tumbled more than 50 per cent in October, compared with the same period last year.

Housing starts in Red Deer tumbled more than 50 per cent in October, compared with the same period last year.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported on Monday that work commenced on 33 homes in the city last month, down from 69 in October 2009. Single-detached houses accounted for 23 of this year’s monthly tally, a 57 per cent drop from the 53 recorded the previous October; units in multi-family developments added 10, a 38 per cent slide from the 16 starts in this category a year earlier.

Year-over-year housing starts have now been down in five consecutive months, but the cumulative total for 2010 still exceeds last year’s figure.

With two months remaining in the year, there have been 502 housing starts in Red Deer: 315 single-detached and 187 in multi-family developments. That’s 21 per cent more than the 10-month figure in 2009, when there were 280 single-detached and 134 multi-family starts, for a total of 414.

Red Deer isn’t the only Alberta city suffering a slowdown in residential construction. Combined housing starts in the province’s seven largest centres fell 17 per cent from October 2009 to October 2010, with Lethbridge the only city to post a year-over-year improvement, with an increase of 36 per cent.

For the year to date, Calgary, Edmonton and Medicine Hat were up in 2010; the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge were down.

Nationally, housing starts dropped to 167,900 units in October from 185,000 in September, said CMHC. It blamed the decline on reduced urban single starts.

Urban starts decreased 24.5 per cent in Ontario, 16.9 per cent in the Prairie region, 9.1 per cent in British Columbia and 2.6 per cent in Quebec, but increased 32.9 per cent in Atlantic Canada.

With files from The Canadian Press

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