Housing starts in the Edmonton region more than tripled in February over the same month last year, indicating how troubled the real estate market had been during the economic recession. Despite the good news from this February, experts are now concerned that upcoming government restrictions could put the brakes on the housing rebound.
The Edmonton metro area witnessed 642 total home starts in February, in comparison to only 213 during the same period in 2009, per a March 8 statement from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The level of building came near the level of 692 housing starts that was set in February 2008. This past February represented the eighth month in as many in which housing starts exhibited versus-year-ago increases.
Foundations were poured for 484 single-family homes in February, versus 149 initiated in February 2009. Through February 28, a total of 1,219 housing starts have occurred, registering a significant upturn from the 626 starts that occurred during through February 2009. Last year at this time, builders had to contend with an oversupply of new-construction homes and a large inventory of existing dwellings.
Guy St. Germain, who is the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association’s Edmonton region president, said that his group is confident about the current market’s vitality. He noted that sales remain strong for single-family dwellings, and that the inventory of multi-family homes continues to decrease. He also said that there is a good balance among buyers and sellers in the resale real estate market, and that prices are increasing in all housing segments.
St. Germain also commented that builders are showing as much optimism as they did in the early months of 2007. He expressed hope that the expected hike in interest rates, as well as new mortgage requirements, will not weaken demand.