Altus Group expects Calgary's apartment sector to be hit the hardest this year. CREB®Now file photo.

Apartment to be most affected, says forecast

Calgary construction is expected to slow down this year and next, according to a new forecast from real estate consultant Altus Group.

Detailed in the group’s winter forecast, starts in Calgary are predicted to drop from 13,000 in 2015 to 9,200 in 2016 and 9,000 the following year as a result of the province’s struggling energy sector.

“While Edmonton starts defied the gravitational pull of a sluggish economy last year, a sharp downward adjustment is expected this year in both Edmonton and Calgary housing starts as job losses lead to weaker housing demand and excess competitive resale product,” said the report.

Following a decade (2005-14) that saw Calgary’s average job growth approach 20,000, employment growth in the city dipped to 16,300 in 2015. According to Altus Group’s forecast, 2016 will see the province shed jobs, with the labour market losing 3,700 jobs before posting a slight rebound in 2016 as employment growth hits 800.

Calgary’s construction decline is expected to be most evident in the apartment sector. While single-family starts in the city are forecast to fall from 7,300 in 2015 to 6,300 in 2016 – a decline of 13 per cent – apartment starts in Calgary are predicted to fall by 49 per cent, dropping from 5,700 in 2015 to 2,900 in 2016.