New apartment starts carry Edmonton new homes market

a crane next to a tall building: Apartments lead the way in new home starts in July

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Apartments lead the way in new home starts in July

New home starts in the Edmonton census metropolitan area (CMA) in July were two-thirds higher than in June, on the heels of a strong showing in the apartment sector.

In Edmonton, even though starts trended higher in July 2020 compared to the previous month mainly due to increase in apartment units as the demand for apartment rental units increased, it was still 31 per cent lower compared to July 2019,” says Christian Arkilley, senior analyst, economics, with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Apartment starts have played a key role in new home starts trends since late last year, says Arkilley.

“In March 2020, total starts in the Edmonton CMA began to recover from its downward trend since November of 2019,” he says. “The driving force behind the increases in total starts in March and April was apartment starts, as the demand for rental apartment units increased. However, in May and June, total starts trended lower due to COVID-19 restrictions, which resulted in job losses.”

The 31 per cent gap in July starts, year over year, is still an improvement from June.

“Total housing starts in June 2020 alone decreased by 51 per cent to 636 units from 1,305 units in June 2019,” says Arkilley. “Quarter over quarter, total starts decreased by 10 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019 despite apartment starts increasing by 20 per cent due to the increasing demand for rental apartment units.”

Here are the key starts statistics, with month-to-month and year-over-year comparisons, as well the number of new homes under construction and in inventory in July.


July 2020              June 2020            July 2019              YTD 2020              YTD 2019

Single-family                      333                         347                         373                    2,239                     2,190

Semi-detached                  102                         94                           104                         670                         688

Row                                     107                         55                           126                         792                         820

Apartments                        398                         140                         758                        2,259                     2,346

Total                                   940                         636                         1,361                     5,690                     6,044


Under construction                         Inventory

Single-family                      2,633                                                     977

Semi-detached                   870                                                        384

Row                                     952                                                        349

Apartments                        5,102                                                     723

Total                                   9,557                                                     2,433

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