Homebuilding in the Edmonton region took an upswing in August, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
The federal agency said Friday there were 805 housing starts in the Edmonton census metropolitan area, up 16.7 per cent from 690 in the previous month.
The increase was attributed to more activity in the multi-family market.
There were 311 multi-family homes started in August, up 82 per cent from 171 units started the same month a year ago.
While single-family home construction is well behind last year’s pace, builders in August poured foundations for 494 single-detached homes, down just five per cent from 519 started in August 2010.
“The wet weather in June and July likely pushed some starts into August,” said CMHC senior market analyst Richard Goatcher.
“With dryer conditions last month, builders were able to excavate and put foundations in the ground, closing the gap between this year’s and 2010’s production levels.”
For the year to date, there were 3,199 single-detached starts across the region — down 26 per cent from the same period last year.
By contrast, multi-family starts in 2011 are just shy of last year’s pace — 2,691 in the first eight months compared to 2,700 in the same period of 2010.
For the year-to-date, all housing starts in the region totalled 5,890, down from 7,018 during the first eight months of 2010.
Housing starts across Alberta’s seven largest centres totalled 2,396 homes in August, up 32 per cent year-over-year.
ATB Financial senior economist Todd Hirsch said the province’s residential construction industry shows signs of picking up speed after a slow year so far.
“Since the recession, activity in the provincial construction sector has been slow to rebound,” Hirsch said in his daily economic commentary.
He said an oversupply of condominiums and other multi-family homes had subdued residential construction across the province.
“Although reading too much into one or two months of data can be deceiving, the surge in both starts and permits over the summer is probably a sign that some of the strength observed in other sectors of the economy (e.g. the energy sector) is starting to have feed-through effects on other sectors like residential construction.”