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The Owl focuses on the day’s top economic news.

ATB Financial’s economics team interprets the latest statistics on wages, employment, inflation, the oil and gas industry and other economic drivers in our province.


Housing starts solid—at least for now

Posted on: July 12, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Certain economic indicators are good at measuring the pulse of consumer sentiment. Housing statistics, for example, track the mood of consumers since a new home is one of the biggest purchases one can make. According to the latest data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, confidence is coming back to Alberta.

Last month, builders started construction on 30,839 homes in the province, including multi-family units. The figure is adjusted for seasonality and is expressed as an annualized rate (that is, the number of units that would be built in one year if the pace in June continued for 12 months). It was the third month in a row in which housing starts were above the 30,000 mark.

The yellow bars in the graph below are monthly figures, while the blue line is the six-month trend. From the peak of activity in late 2014 to the low point last summer, housing construction fell by nearly half. However, as shown by the trend line, housing construction is picking up once again. Over the first half of this year, starts are up by 15 per cent compared to the second half of 2016.

However, this rising trend could be interrupted by an increase in borrowing costs. The Bank of Canada is widely expected to raise interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, which would nudge mortgage rates up by a similar amount. That may take a bit of wind out of the sail of the housing market in the second half of the year.Housing starts in Alberta, graph

Alberta Economic Outlook

ATB Financial’s Alberta Economic Outlook summarizes research on Alberta’s most important sectors, covering the first quarter of 2015. It analyzes the province’s economic happenings and outlines what may occur in the next quarter. Read the Outlooks below for the latest on our economy.

Q1 2015 | Q2 2015

More housing news: New house prices stable

Posted on: August 11, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
t’s been a week full of housing indicators. Earlier in the week July’s housing start numbers were released. Next came building permits. Now, we have the latest New Housing Price Index (NHPI) numbers and they show a sturdy new housing market as well.

Building permits a mixed bag

Posted on: August 10, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
As yesterday’s Owl noted, the pace of new housing in our province is solid. But, new data shows signs that this pace might not continue.

Housing starts solid in July

Posted on: August 09, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Oil prices may be stuck below $US 50 a barrel, but that doesn’t seem to be diminishing the optimism of Alberta’s home builders. Demand for new homes appears to be steady.

Alberta’s exposure to Venezuela

Posted on: August 08, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
A country that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately is Venezuela. The South American oil producing nation has spiralled into a sad state of violence and political instability.

July’s job report a flop

Posted on: August 04, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
After several promising months during the first half of the year, Alberta’s job picture kicked off the second half of 2017 with a resounding thud.

Beef producers face another hurdle

Posted on: August 03, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
At the beginning of the year, beef producers in Alberta were worried about bovine tuberculosis and sliding prices, but recently a new threat has emerged. Alberta beef producers are now facing a large tariff hike imposed by Japan.

Albertans least likely to live alone

Posted on: August 02, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Last year, only 24 per cent of Alberta households were occupied by only one person. That’s the lowest among the provinces and below the national average of 28.2 per cent.

 

Perch

Each Perch focuses on a topic that’s important to Alberta​ns.

While many of us can probably cite the daily price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude, there is room to improve our understanding of just how much oil we have, how much we produce and who buys it. This edition of Perch presents a handy set of answers to these questions.

So sit back and enjoy. ​


Read Perch now

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The Economic Team​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ (Left to right: Nick Ford, Todd Hirsch and Rob Roach)

Our Economics Team​​​

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Todd Hirsch

Chief Economist

Todd Hirsch is the Chief Economist at ATB Financial. At ATB, Todd spends the bulk of his time sharing the story of Alberta’s economy in clear-eyed and energetic talks across the province and the rest of the country.

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Nick Ford

Economist

Nick Ford is an Economist at ATB Financial. Nick joined ATB’s Economics and Research team in February 2014 where he researches, tracks and reports on economic indicators and trends that impact Albertans.

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Rob Roach

Director of Insight

As a Director of Insight with ATB Financial’s Economics and Research team, Rob examines the economic and social forces that affect Albertans’ quality of life.

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ATB’s Extended Reports​

Black gold

Alberta's oil resources

Read the report.

Tightening Santa's belt

Holiday spending and travel intentions (December 2016)

Read the report.

Preparing for success

Post-secondary education in Alberta (September 2016)

Read the report.

Selling our wares

Alberta's international exports (May 2016)

Read the report.

Happiness in Alberta

The full results of ATB Financial’s Alberta Happiness Survey (June 2015)

Read the report.

Hanging out your shingle

Self-employment in Alberta (November 2015)

Read the report.

People power

Population trends in Alberta (March 2016)

Read the report.

The Owl

The latest developments in business and economics from a unique Albertan perspective.

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