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Alberta housing starts near the Canadian average

Alberta housing starts near the Canadian average

Posted on: 4/12/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

There’s no question that the downturn of 2015 and 2016 was brutal on the home building market in Alberta. Housing starts were cut in half from roughly 40,000 units per year in 2014 to around 20,000 in the trough of 2016.

Housing starts in 2018 are stable but have not returned to their pre-recession levels. Even without much of a rebound, Albertans are close to the Canadian average on a per capita basis.

In March of 2018, builders began construction on 27,000 units. (This figure is at annualized rates and adjusted for seasonality, and includes both single unit and multi-family homes.) That equates to about 62.5 new homes for every 10,000 Albertans. The national figure in March was 60.9 new homes for every 10,000 Canadians.

For nearly all of the past two decades, per capita housing starts in Alberta were considerably higher than the national average (see graph below). During the boom years of 2006-07 and 2013-14, per capita starts in Alberta were twice that in the rest of the country. The recession took a toll on home builders in this province. But even with the declines in 2015 and 2016, new home construction fell only as low as the national average.

That information is consistent with several other key economic indicators recently, all of which point towards a similar conclusion: Alberta is starting to look much more like a typical Canadian province.

And in the global perspective, that’s not a bad look at all.

Housing starts per 10,000 population, graph

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