Calgary

Spending on apartment-style housing nosedives 42% in Alberta, StatsCan reports

Investment in new housing construction has plummeted in Alberta by 19 per cent since the start of last year, bucking the national trend which climbed by 8.7 per cent year over year, Statistics Canada says.

Overall investment in new housing dipped by 19% in Alberta, compared to a 8.7% uptick nationally

The housing construction spending drop-off in Alberta was the sharpest decline across the country from January 2016 to January 2017, Statistics Canada says. (Reuters)

Investment in new housing construction has plummeted in Alberta by 19 per cent since the start of last year, bucking the national trend which climbed by 8.7 per cent year over year, Statistics Canada says.

Spending in Alberta dropped to $560 million in January, mostly due to a 41.9 per cent dip in investment in apartment and apartment-style condominium building construction, the federal agency said in a release Tuesday.

Economist Ann-Marie Lurie with the Calgary Real Estate Board says the local housing market is still adjusting to Alberta's economic slowdown.

"We're really just coming through a two year recession," she said. "We've had oversupply in most of our housing markets."

Matthew Boukall with realty consultants, Altus Group, says the Stats Can numbers also reflect the lower cost of building homes this past year. But he says there is still choice and investment value for many home buyers and owners.

"The reduction in overall construction activity doesn't mean consumers have fewer choices today. [It] doesn't mean they're actually seeing the dollar volume drop in terms of their house worth," he said.

The spending drop-off in Alberta was the sharpest decline across the country.

Six provinces posted overall increases in new housing construction, led by Ontario and British Columbia.

January was the fourth consecutive month in which all dwelling types showed a year-over-year uptick.

Investment in single-family home construction was up 12.1 per cent nationally, with gains in all seven provinces except Alberta, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Ontario, where overall investment rose 18.5 per cent to reach $1.8 billion, single-family homes led the way with a 21.4 per cent spike over last year.

In British Columbia, investment increased 23.8 per cent to $866 million, led by a boost in spending on apartment and apartment-condominium buildings.

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