Condos could push 2014 housing starts to record heights

Stronger condo apartment starts are spurring Calgary total housing starts to a potential new record this year but some cooling is expected in 2015, says a new report by Altus Group.

The consulting firm’s housing forecast said total housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area are expected to reach 17,800 this year then drop to 15,900 in 2015.

The report said total housing starts in the Calgary region were 12,600 in 2013 and the annual average between 2003-2012 was 12,100.

The high was reached in 2006 with 17,046 starts.

“The new condominium apartment market in Calgary is hot,” said the report. “Starts in the first half of the year were four times the level of the first half in 2013.”

From January to June, there were 3,793 new condo starts in Calgary this year compared with 957 for the same period a year ago.

At the end of June, there were 6,458 new condos under construction, up from 4,117 a year ago. Completed but unabsorbed new condos at the end of June were only nine compared with 327 a year ago.

Sales from January to June this year were 2,225 units, up from 1,939 last year.

Several factors have contributed to the boost in new condo construction.

“Strong demand has led to accelerated new home price increases in Calgary and resale price increases remain above inflation,” said the report.

“Job growth is expected to remain strong this year and next.”

The report is forecasting employment growth of 27,100 this year and another 27,500 in 2015 following a hike of 21,900 in 2013.

The annual average between 2003-2012 was 17,800.

There were 3,000 condo apartment starts in 2013. This year, the report is forecasting that to soar to 6,700 and then dip to 5,100 in 2015.

A recent report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. forecast housing starts in the Calgary region to increase by 24 per cent this year to 15,600 units then drop by 7.7 per cent in 2015 to 14,400 units.


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