2013 a strong year for residential construction in Red Deer

The value of residential construction and renovation work in Red Deer jumped more than 27 per cent in 2013, according to a report commissioned by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association — Alberta.

The value of residential construction and renovation work in Red Deer jumped more than 27 per cent in 2013, according to a report commissioned by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association — Alberta.

Consulting firm Will Dunning Inc. calculated the value of new residential construction in the city last year at $159 million, with renovations adding $149 million and related expenditures like realty and legal costs contributing $26 million. The total of $334 million was up sharply from the $262 million that a similar report prepared a year earlier assigned to building activity in 2012.

The most recent report estimated that 2,520 jobs resulted from the residential construction and renovation industry in Red Deer in 2013 — based on person years of work. Of these, 1,370 were direct construction jobs and 1,150 were indirect positions either in Alberta or outside the province. Total wages associated with these jobs were $159 million, said the report.

In 2012, it was estimated that 880 direct jobs and 810 indirect jobs resulted from local residential construction activity. The related wage tally was $105 million.

Provincewide, the report said the residential construction economic impact was $17.9 billion in 2013. That was up 17 per cent from the $15.2 billion in 2012. Total jobs were calculated at more than 100,000 in Alberta and nearly 25,000 elsewhere in Canada. Wages totaled $7.9 billion.

The report indicated that almost one-fifth of all the new homes built in Canada were located in Alberta — the highest proportion since 2007.

“The pressure is on Alberta’s housing market with both rents and existing home sales rising fast,” said Jim Rivait, CEO of Canadian Home Builders’ Association — Alberta, in a release. “New homes are needed to keep prices from rising out of reach of many Albertans, especially first-time buyers.”

Last year, there were 784 housing starts in Red Deer, up 38 per cent from 568 in 2012. The 2013 total was the highest for the city since 2007, when builders combined for 1,558 starts prior to the onset of the recession.

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