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Alberta’s housing starts remain close to Canadian average

Alberta’s housing starts remain close to Canadian average

Posted on: 8/15/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

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Housing starts are a great economic barometer — as more people are working, earning money and feeling confident about their jobs, they are purchasing new houses and condominiums. And as Alberta continues its economic rebound in 2018, housing starts have also picked back-up, at least partially.

The chart below shows housing starts per capita for both Canada and Alberta. The orange line shows Canada, which has been consistent around 55 to 60 new homes for every 10,000 people. (This figure is seasonally adjusted at annualized rates, and is smoothed using the 12-month moving average to eliminate monthly volatility).

Alberta, on the other hand, saw a massive building boom in 2013 and 2014, building at times over 100 new homes per 10,000 people annually. That was nearly double the national average as our province experienced rapid economic growth and massive inter-provincial migration.

During the oil-price downturn and resulting recession, per capita housing starts in Alberta dropped dramatically — but remained just above the national average. Since its low point near the end of 2016, housing starts in Alberta have crept higher to around 65-70 per 10,000.

While Alberta’s economy is performing better these days, per capita housing starts are not likely to return to the elevated levels of 2014. There is a surplus of some types of housing, especially high-rise condos in Calgary and Edmonton. And with only gradual improvements in the job market, confidence is likely to remain muted.

housing starts, graph​​​

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