Housing starts up

Residential construction starts in Red Deer last month were up 16 per cent from July 2008. And in the benchmark single-detached category, the year-over-year increase was 76 per cent.

Residential construction starts in Red Deer last month were up 16 per cent from July 2008. And in the benchmark single-detached category, the year-over-year increase was 76 per cent.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports that work began on 43 homes in the city last month, including 37 single-detached houses.

A year ago, there were 37 residential starts, with 21 of these single-family projects.

Among Alberta’s seven largest cities, Red Deer was one of only three to record an increase in July. Lethbridge was up 34 per cent, thanks to big jump in multi-family starts; and the metropolitan area of Edmonton was 11 per cent higher, with single-detached construction accounting for the change.

July housing starts in the Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo tumbled 87 per cent, in Medicine Hat they fell 76 per cent, Grande Prairie was off 59 per cent and the Calgary metropolitan area declined 14 per cent. The average of all seven centres was 19 per cent lower.

The increase in residential construction in Red Deer comes after city officials announced last week that just $5.5 million worth of residential building permits were issued in July. In June, the number was $10.2 million and in July 2008 it was almost $29 million.

For the year to date, residential construction in Red Deer continues to lag well behind the pace in 2008. The 203 housing starts during the first seven months of this year are 45 per cent fewer than the 371 recorded to the same point in 2008.

In the case of single-detached homes, the 147 starts accumulated so far this year are down 28 per cent from the 205 for the same period in 2008.

Nationally, CMHC reported that the number of housing starts hit a seasonally adjusted rate of 132,100 units in July, down from 137,800 in June. The agency estimated that there were 12,712 actual starts last month, down from 18,229 actual starts in July 2008.

It attributed the national decline to fluctuations in the condominium market and extreme weather in some areas.

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