November was the busiest month for construction starts on apartments in the Calgary area in more than two years.
There were shovels in the ground for 886 apartments in the Calgary census metropolitan area last month, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
The last time there was more new construction in the segment, 1,007 of these units took root in June 2015.
Along with Calgary itself, the census metropolitan area includes activity in nearby cities and towns, such as Airdrie, Chestermere and Cochrane.
The Calgary area’s apartment activity in November topped the same month in 2016 by 76 per cent. Northeast Calgary led the way last month with 340 starts, followed by 236 in downtown Calgary, and 163 on the southwest end of the city.
“It could be economic optimism or it could be that the stars aligned for one large project,” says Timothy Gensey, market analyst with CMHC.
Apartment towers often need to cross a sales threshold and are not always reflective of current market conditions, he adds.
With that said, multi-family starts were up overall, rising to 1,114 from 399 a year ago.
Ground broke for 122 townhomes last month, rising 36 per cent year over year.
Calgary’s Fish Creek area led townhome activity in the area with 25 starts in November, trailed by 23 from the city’s northwest end, says CMHC.
A substantial townhome and apartment-style condo development continuing construction in the Fish Creek area is Fish Creek Exchange by Graywood Developments.
Compared to the other multi-family segments, growth from duplexes last month was modest. There were 106 starts last month, two more than in November 2016.
However, last month continued an overall upswing in new construction of duplexes this year. Eleven months into 2017, October is the only month with fewer duplex starts than the same time a year earlier.
Northeast and northwest Calgary led new construction of duplexes last month with 24 starts and 20 starts, respectively.
People looking for an immediate possession home in a multi-family development saw more selection last month than a year earlier.
Townhomes were the only multi-family segment with fewer units constructed but unabsorbed, with inventory slipping to 161 from 163 a year ago, says CMHC.
Most of these townhomes were in northwest Calgary, where inventory reached 53 units, followed by the northeast quadrant with 26.
The sharpest growth came from apartments with 1,159 units ready for possession, up from 780 in November 2016.
Northeast Calgary had the most constructed but unabsorbed apartments last month with 253. The other ends of the Calgary area in triple-digits for immediate possession apartments were downtown Calgary, Fish Creek, southeast Calgary, North Hill, and the city’s northwest quadrant.
Supply of new duplexes climbed to 186 from 149 year over year. Last month’s count was paced by 45 in southwest Calgary, 35 in the northeast, and 32 in the northwest.