September was the most active month so far this year for housing starts in Calgary but 2016 remains especially slow for home building in the city, according to data released Tuesday.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported that housing starts in the city rose to 14,279 in September, on an annualized and seasonally adjusted basis.
That's up from 8,638 in August and higher than any other month this year. It's down, however, from the mark of 15,535 last September and 18,272 in September 2014.
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These numbers don't represent the actual number of homes built in September, but they are often used to make month-to-month comparisons.
The CMHC warns, however,that relying on seasonally adjusted annualized rates alone "can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next."
Looking at the actual number of housing starts for the entire year reveals how much slower 2016 has been relative to Calgary's recent past.
Run your mouse over or tap on this interactive graph to find more information about Alberta housing starts from Q1 to Q3 (January-September) since 2001:
As you can see from the above graph, there have been fewer single-family builds started so far in 2016 than any other year in the past 15, with just 8,258 units begun between January and September.
That's even fewer than in recession-struck 2009, when there were 9,302 single-family units started during the same time period.
Apartment/condo builds had been on the rise since the end of the so-called great recession in 2010, but that growth has not kept up in 2016.
The number of apartment units that began construction so far this year is down 53.3 per cent compared to the first nine months of 2015.
Calgary realtor Doug Hayden says it is a buyer's market right now.
"This is typical in a recession. The best time to buy or move up is right now," Hayden told CBC News.
"Builders are giving you much better prices or deals. The buyer has advantage right now. The buyer has leverage. There is more inventory than there are buyers."
He adds this could continue for the next six to 12 months followed by period of a "flat market."