indicatorThe Owl

A noteworthy year for home construction in Alberta

Annual housing starts highest since 2015

By Siddhartha Bhattacharya, ATB Economics 19 January 2023 1 min read

Momentum in Alberta’s residential market continued to soften in December.

Averaging 26,813 units (seasonally adjusted at an annual rate) in December, housing starts in Alberta fell by 4,856 units (-15.3%) from November to the lowest monthly level since January 2022.

Despite this, Alberta’s housing sector posted strong numbers overall last year.

Total housing starts stood at 36,544 units in 2022. This was their highest level since 2015 and almost exactly in line with our most recent forecast. Total starts for the year were 14.4% higher than in 2021 and 33.7% above the pre-pandemic level set in 2019.

While there are several factors at play, the growing population of Alberta is a key driver of the growth  in residential construction.

As of July 1, 2022, Alberta’s population jumped 2.2% from the year prior and posted the fastest annual increase since 2014. This also beat Canada’s population growth of 1.8% during the same timeframe.

Six provinces, led by Alberta and New Brunswick, posted annual increases in the number of starts last year. However, low numbers in Quebec were enough to push Canada’s starts down by 3.4% relative to the record level set in 2021.

Looking ahead, ongoing interest rate hikes are likely to continue to slow new home construction across the country well into 2023.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The 57th NFL Super Bowl is being played in Glendale, Arizona on February 12, 2023.

Today’s trivia question: Annual inflation in Canada between 1970 and 2022 hit its lowest level in 1994. What was the annual inflation rate that year?

A total of 36,544 new residential units were started in Alberta in 2022

A total of 36,544 new residential units were started in Alberta in 2022

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