Five things: Calgary vs Edmonton

Edmonton has had a busier year for new single-family home construction.

While the most natural comparison to Calgary’s housing activity is three hours north to Edmonton, on a number of levels, the markets don’t measure up. Edmonton’s been busier building new single-family homes while Calgary’s seen higher prices, writes Josh Skapin.


When it came to breaking ground on single-family homes this year, the Edmonton census metropolitan area led the way. Shovels turned for 4,043 single-family homes in the Edmonton area between Jan. 1 and the end of August, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Meanwhile, the Calgary census metropolitan area had 2,801 starts. Both areas have seen new construction pull-back this year compared to the same time in 2014 when Calgary notched 4,586 starts and Edmonton had 4,308. The census metropolitan area includes work in surrounding cities and towns. In Calgary’s case, that means Airdrie, Cochrane and Chestermere.



For homes that are well underway, Edmonton again had the edge. The inventory of single-family homes under construction in the Edmonton area reached 4,030 between Jan. 1 and the end of August, says CMHC. Calgary’s figures fell 31.5 per cent short with 2,759 single-family homes under construction. Southeast Calgary topped the city in single-family homes under construction with 505 underway.



The Edmonton area had the edge in the number of homes that were polished off and ready for owners to bring in boxes and unpack. Between Jan. 1 and the end of August, the Edmonton area completed construction on 4,706 single-family homes, says CMHC. In Calgary, there were 3,701 completed single-family homes. Calgary’s southeast paced all areas of the city with 952 of these completions.



The resale market in both Calgary and Edmonton has cooled off over the first eight months of 2015 compared to the same time in 2014. Calgary topped Edmonton in the number of single-family home sales on the resale market but also saw the sharper decline from last year. There were 8,419 single-family homes sold in Calgary between Jan. 1 and the end of August, down 23 per cent from 10,942 deals a year ago. Edmonton had 7,623 single-family homes sold on the resale market, dipping nine per cent from 8,380 sales last year.



House hunters have spent more money on both the resale and new home market in Calgary than in Edmonton this year. The average price on absorbed single-family homes in the Calgary area during the second quarter of 2015, which is the most recent data available, was $752,930, says CMHC. This average was based on 1,743 homes absorbed. In Edmonton, there were 2,311 absorptions averaging $570,518. On the resale side, Edmonton’s single-family average over the first eight months of 2015 was $439,929, which is up from $432,071 during the same time a year ago, says the Edmonton Real Estate Board. Calgary’s average resale price on single-family homes was $541,809, easing from $554,786 during the same time in 2014, says the Calgary Real Estate Board.

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