Higher inventories, lower demand blamed for housing start decline in July

By Geoff Smith (@GeoffSmithLNN on Twitter)
August 9, 2018 - 9:51am

LETHBRIDGE – Elevated inventories and lower demand are being cited as factors in a drop in housing starts in Lethbridge.

The total number of new homes started in July was down 19 per cent compared to the same month last year, from 63 to 51, according to the monthly report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) Most of that decline was in multiple-unit dwellings, with eight starts, down from 18 in July 2017.

So far this year, the Lethbridge area has seen 323 housing starts, down from 366 last year, or 12 per cent. Calgary is up nearly five per cent, while Edmonton is down by close to 15 per cent. Red Deer, Grande Prairie, and Wood Buffalo are all down, but Medicine Hat is up by 272 per cent, driven largely by a surge in multiple-unit starts in July.

There was a very slight decrease in the trend for Lethbridge, which is a six-month moving average of the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The SAAR was itself down very slightly from June.

Numbers are for the Lethbridge Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which includes not only Lethbridge and Lethbridge County but the communities of Coaldale, Coalhurst, Barons, Picture Butte, and Nobleford.

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