indicatorThe Twenty-Four

Standing tall

Housing construction continues hot pace in May

By ATB Financial 19 June 2024 2 min read

Last week, we found out that residential permits in Alberta made a big splash in April. It’s a similar story for housing starts as they continue to springboard through the first five months of 2024.

Housing starts in Alberta stood at 48,185 units* in May, up 32% from the same month last year.

Despite some month-to-month volatility, starts have been trending up and have hit at least 40,000 units (annualized) each month since August. The last time Alberta had a run like this was during the 2007 housing boom.

Averaging 45,107 units year-to-date (YTD), starts were up by 53% from the first five months of 2023 with strong gains in both single (+36%) and multi-units (+60%).

Regionally, Edmonton (+69% YTD) has been leading the charge since the end of last year while starts have risen 35% in Calgary.

Alberta’s new housing market remains the hottest in the country, responsible for about two-thirds of the YTD national increase. If you took Alberta out of the mix, national starts were up a modest 4.1%.

It is, however, important to note that the province continues to face a shortage of skilled workers with job vacancy rates still above pre-COVID levels in the construction sector and that this may be holding back an even hotter pace of new construction.

Looking ahead, we expect residential construction activity to remain healthy as population growth continues to fuel demand. As mentioned in our latest economic outlook released yesterday, housing starts in Alberta are expected to average close to 43,000 units this year and in 2025.  Home construction is one of the key factors, along with rising energy production, pushing Alberta’s forecast of real GDP growth ahead of the national average.  

*All data in this report have been seasonally adjusted at an annual rate or SAAR.

Answer to the previous trivia question: According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, on June 19, 1865, 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas and announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as "Juneteenth" by the newly freed people in Texas.

Today’s trivia question: In terms of daylight and using Edmonton as the reference location, how much longer will this year’s summer solstice (June 20) be than the winter solstice was last December?

Housing starts in Alberta averaged over 40,000 units (annualized) for the 10th straight month in May

Housing starts in Alberta averaged over 40,000 units (annualized) for the 10th straight month in May

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