Alberta construction notched a solid gain in November, and starts are within a hair of the highest level since early 2008 amid relatively strong housing momentum on the prairies. According to a release from BMO Economics, housing starts in Alberta reached an annualized rate of 38,900 in November. With one month to go in 2012, year-over-year starts in the province have increased by 33 per cent.

In Calgary, housing starts were trending at 11,986 units in November, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of total housing starts. The standalone monthly SAAR was 11,880 units in November, down from 12,330 in October.

“Despite the decline from the previous month, the pace of total housing starts in November was comparable to the average experienced over the last six months,” said Richard Cho, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Calgary. “The pace of new home construction has moderated from the elevated levels reported in the middle of the year, mainly due to fewer apartment units breaking ground.”

Single-detached starts increased 15 per cent to 511 units in November 2012, up from 446 units in November 2011. After 11 months, single-detached starts reached 5,433 units, an increase of 18 per cent from 4,619 units in the previous year. Multi-family starts, which include semi-detached units, rows, and apartments, totalled 479 units last month, down 27 per cent from a year earlier. To the end of November, builders started 6,542 multi-family units compared to 3,703 units in 2011.

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of the state of the housing market.