Canada housing starts deteriorate as Alberta hits 5-Year Low

Canadian housing starts fell for the third time in four months in January with construction in Alberta tumbling to its lowest level in almost five years.

The pace of work starting on new homes nationwide fell 4.1 per cent from December to 165,861 at a seasonally adjusted annual pace, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Friday.

Alberta’s unadjusted starts fell to 1,466 in January, the lowest since March 2011 and a 50 per cent decline from a year earlier. The decline coincides with a jump in the province’s unemployment rate, CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in the report.

The commodity collapse is increasing a drag on the national housing market, weakness that was masked over much of last year by surging demand in Toronto and Vancouver. There was evidence Friday of fresh job-market weakness that could temper housing further — Statistics Canada reported Alberta’s unemployment rate rose to the highest since 1996 at 7.4 per cent in January.

-Calgary Herald

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