There are many words used to describe the Canadian
housing sector at the moment, including “bubble,” “overheated”
and “dangerous.” Most of those worrisome terms
are in reference to residential markets in Toronto and
Vancouver. But here in Alberta, the best word to describe
the housing market is: balanced.
In February, home builders started construction on 33,337
new houses throughout our province. This figure is
seasonally adjusted and reported at annualized rates (i.e.,
the number of homes that would be built in one calendar
year if the current pace continues for 12 months). That’s up
from the 29,300 total in January, and mostly on par with
activity over the last year.
But over the last five years in Alberta, home builders have
been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride. With starts peaking
above 50,000 during the heady days of 2008, too
many new homes were being placed on the market.
When the economic slowdown came the following
year, housing starts tumbled sharply—as did the
selling price for both new and existing homes. There
was an excess of real estate that caused the muchdreaded
Since that time, things have improved. Even though
2011 was another boom year for Alberta’s economy,
home builders showed a bit more constraint—
housing starts climbed their way back to the 5-year
average, but never spiked too much higher than that.
This time around, builders have avoided a glut of
inventory on the market. As a result, Alberta’s housing
market enters 2013 in excellent balance.