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PRIYA SHARMA
Century 21 Signature Realty
#207, 2920 Calgary Trail NW, Edmonton, Alberta
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - New home construction rises in Edmonton area


Builders started three times the number of Edmonton-area homes in February as they did a year earlier — showing just how far the housing market had fallen last year.

Total housing starts in the Edmonton census metropolitan area reached 642 in February, compared with 213 in February 2009, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Monday.

Last month’s building activity approached February 2008 levels when housing starts totalled 692.

In the single-detached sector, builders poured foundations for 484 starts in February, more than three-fold the 149 houses started last year.

So far this year, housing starts have totalled 1,219, up from 626 recorded in the first two months of 2009 when builders downed tools in a weak economy and what observers called an overbuilt housing market which was competing with large inventories of existing homes.

The rebound so far this year is especially evident in the single home market where builders started 881 units, compared with only 296 during January and February of last year.

“With inventories down considerably from a year prior, builders are strengthening production in preparation for the important spring selling season,” said Richard Goatcher, CMHC’s senior market analyst in Edmonton.

Multiple dwelling starts also increased year-over-year in February to 158 units compared with only 64 a year earlier. After two months, multi-family starts are up 2.4 per cent to 338 units, compared with 330 started in the comparable 2009 period.

Gains in semi-detached and row housing are off-set by continued weakness in new apartment construction. Goatcher said high new apartment inventories in parts of Edmonton will dampen activity in the sector for much of the year.

The February rebound is also seen across Alberta. Housing starts in the seven largest centres totalled 1,562 homes in February, compared to 574 starts a year earlier — despite lower activity in Wood Buffalo and Grande Prairie.

posted in News at Tue, 09 Mar 2010 07:19:43 -0700



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