While softer energy prices may be moderating overall economic growth this year, it appears that homebuilders didn’t receive the memo. Judging by the most recent statistics, its boom time in Alberta!
According to the latest figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, builders started construction on 41,438 new homes in our province in May. That’s the highest this year and the first time since early 2008 that the figure has risen above the 40,000 mark. What’s more, the trend over the last several months clearly suggests that the housing market is heating up. Between May 2012 and May of this year, housing starts are 14.1 per cent
higher than they were in the previous 12-month period.
What’s causing this boom in home construction isn’t any big mystery: population growth. Even if overall economic growth has slowed somewhat, the inflow of people into our province hasn’t. The latest Labour Force Survey (released last Friday) points to a surge in the labour force, which has grown by 59,400 (+2.6 per cent) over the last 12-months. Interprovincial and
international migration to Alberta is driving some of the demand for new homes. High wages, low unemployment and a younger population are also contributing factors.
The strong housing starts number this morning is supported by another figure from Friday’s
employment report—the number of construction jobs is also rising. Even if jobs in the energy patch and manufacturing have eased back a bit, employment in construction continues to provide some great work opportunities.*
* Courtesy of Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial