Calgary housing starts forecast to improve

Expectations positive for short and long term

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

CALGARY —
Short-term and long-term expectations for housing starts in the Calgary region  are positive, says the Conference Board of Canada.  In its Metropolitan Monthly Monitors report released Friday, the board said the seasonally-adjusted annual rate for housing starts for the Calgary census
metropolitan area was 5,977 units in July.

Jane McIntyre, an economist with the board, said short-term expectations are based on residential permits data while long-term expectations are based on
demographic requirements.  She said building permits continue to rise for Calgary.  “Over the
longer term we look at economic fundamentals. Population. Economic growth. Employment. All those things,” she said.

“We look at the Calgary (economic) forecasts and we see over the next few years we’re going to have some stable growth and population still increasing. So as part of our housing starts forecast we have housing starts rising in Calgary over the next few years.”  The forecast is good news for the homebuilding industry as starts have fallen so far this year. A year ago, the conference board said the seasonally-adjusted annual rate for starts in the Calgary CMA was 10,908 units.

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., year-to-date, up to the end of July, total housing starts in the Calgary CMA are down 27.6 per cent from the same period last year to 4,188 units. A year ago, builders started 5,783 homes in the region.

Year-to-date, single-detached starts have dropped 27.4 per cent to 2,857 units from 3,937 for  the same period a year ago while multiple-family starts have fallen by 27.9 per cent to 1,331 units from 1,846 last year.

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