Calgary’s actual housing starts increased by 52 per cent in July, boosted primarily by increased activity in the city’s multi-family sector.

According to the latest numbers from Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC), housing starts in the city numbered 1,383 units in July, up from 910 during the same month in 2012.

While single-family starts in the month dropped by 5.6 per cent to 572 units, multifamily starts increased from 304 in July 2012 to 813. Year-to-date, total housing starts reached 6,947 units, down 13 per cent from 7,954 units during the same period in 2012.

Despite the decline, single-detached starts were still above the five-year average for the month of July. After seven months, foundations were poured for 3,657 units in 2013, a six per cent increase from 3,436 in 2012.

“Demand for new homes throughout this year has been supported by strong migration, growth in employment, as well as a reduced selection of homes in the competing resale market,” stated the report from CMHC.

Nationally, Canadian housing starts were trending at 187,403 units in July compared to 182,141 in June. While Calgary saw a significant increase in starts for the month, urban centres across the country was a seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts decline 2.1 per cent between June and July hitting 172,974 units.

“Following three consecutive increases, the value of residential building permits for all dwelling types declined in June by 12.9 per cent from May,” said the CMHC report on numbers across Canada. “The decline in the total value of residential permits in June reflected declines in the value of single and multi-family permits of 7.4 per cent and 18.8 per cent respectively.”

MLS® sales in the country were up slightly in July compared to June growing from 469,548 to 470,340 while new listings saw a decline of 0.4 per cent in July dropping from 874,320 units to 870,576.

“An indicator of price pressure in the existing home market is the sales-to-new listings ratio,” said the CMHC report. “New listings are a gauge of supply of existing homes, whereas MLS® sales are a proxy for demand.”

In Calgary, the price of a single-detached absorbed home in the city averaged $585,462 in July 2013, a three per cent decline from $605,081 from the same month in 2012. To the end of July, the single-detached absorbed price increased two per cent year-over-year to average $580,811.