Multi-family trend thrives in downtown core
Anyone who travels Deerfoot Trail knows the suburban commuter is far from an endangered species.
But the beginnings of a change in Calgary’s residential character may be reflected in the latest numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
In the first nine months of 2014, single-family housing starts are up by two per cent from the same period in 2013, while all types of multi-family starts show a gain of 110 per cent.
“There definitely is that strong demand for multi-family,” said Felicia Mutheardy, CMHC market analyst.
And the largest share of multi-family construction is taking place in and around the downtown core, she adds.
It could be in part, “a product of those years of record net migration” to Calgary in 2012 and 2013, Mutheardy says. That recent influx shows an age distribution that is “quite young” and likely looking for homes priced below the recent Calgary single-family average price, now well above $500,000, according to the latest figures from the Calgary Real Estate Board.
Typically, she says, the younger market includes a large contingent of renters, but with tight vacancy rates in the city, more young people may be moving to the first-time homebuyer market. That group may also be augmented by baby boomers opting to downsize and simplify by moving closer to the ameni- ties in the core. Mutheardy says CMHC has no specific data on these two points, but is hearing anecdotally from its contacts in the market that multi-family demand in downtown Calgary is drawing support from these demographics.
October showed the same multifamily leaning, with single-family starts down 20 per cent to 464 from 569 in October 2013, while multi-family starts jumped 61 per cent, to 956 from 593. The annualized trend in all types of housing starts reached its peak in August, at 18,930, the highest level since at least 1990, before which data is not immediately accessible, Mutheardy says. The annualized trend has dipped slightly to 18,487 in September and 18,382 in October.
“Despite the modest (trend) reduction, the pace of housing starts remains elevated, particularly in the multi-family market, where the inventory of complete and unabsorbed units remains low,” she says.
The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of total housing starts. CMHC uses the measurement to even out monthly swings in the numbers.
In the first nine months of 2014, single-family housing starts in Calgary are up by two per cent from 2013. Multi-family starts show a gain of 110 per cent.