Shovels turned for 82 more single-family homes in September than the same month in 2015, marking the largest year-over-year increase for the Calgary area this year.

There were 391 construction starts for single-family homes in the Calgary census metropolitan area last month after 309 broke ground in September 2015, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The census metropolitan area includes activity in neighbouring cities and towns, such as Airdrie, Cochrane and Chestermere.

The Calgary area had the largest swing in new construction of single-family homes of any urban centre in the province last month.

In the Edmonton area, starts increased to 469 from 452, year over year.

Year to date, there have been 2,515 single-family construction starts in the Calgary area, down 19 per cent from 3,110 starts during the same period in 2015.
In recent months, the output of single-family starts has shown improvement.

Between June 1 and the end of August, 958 of these homes took root in the Calgary area compared to 948 during the same months a year earlier.

A lack of supply likely played a role in new construction growth, says CMHC regional economist Lai Sing Louie. There were 353 constructed but unabsorbed single-family homes in the Calgary area last month.

In August, which is the most current available data showing the difference in spec and show homes, there were 113 spec homes and 228 show homes. In July, the count on spec homes in the Calgary area was 96.

“If you think of a city the size of Calgary and only 96 spec homes, that’s not that much,” Louie says. Prior to the economic downturn, that figure would reach the high 300s, he adds

“Potentially there was an uptick in demand recently,” says Louie. “We find, when building permits are taken out, the start happens the following month.

“So that could have happened a little bit earlier. There would have been more sales in July and August that precipitated an uptick in September.”

However, Louie says, CMHC typically looks for activity over two quarters to establish a trend.

The most substantial rise came from Calgary’s north quadrants.

There were 95 single-family starts in northwest Calgary and 69 in the northeast, compared to 71 and 37, respectively, a year earlier.

The balance of last month’s single-family construction starts include 68 in southeast Calgary, 22 in Fish Creek, 16 in the city’s southwest, three in North Hill and one each in Chinook, downtown, and the Beltline District.

Source: Calgary Herald