Airdrie growing by 2.6 homes per day

Story by Jim Zang

Fall 2022

Airdrie is growing at a pace of 2.6 homes per day, according to the most recent Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation(CMHC) statistics, with more than 630 new home starts so far this year.

After a slow start, things seem to be kicking into gear, as August 2022 starts (218 total) far exceeded July of this year (62 total), mostly on the back of 142 new apartment units officially listed as August starts. Even with the late influx of condo apartments, however, t 2022 year-to-date totals fall short of 2021 new home starts by 83 starts (11.6%). See Figure 1 below.

Completions were near even for August in 2021 and 2022, as were absorptions (possessions), with approximately 95% of completed new homes now being lived in. What’s interesting is that the number of year-to-date absorptions for both years are near identical, despite the significantly higher number of completions in 2021. So far this year, there’s literally been more absorptions than completions, meaning some homes started in 2021 weren’t absorbed until 2022. Last year, it was a different story, with an 80.7 per cent absorption to completion rate.

The differences in absorption ratio are reflected in price, based on simple supply and demand economics. Prices were lower last year when there was a relative surplus of inventory in the form of unabsorbed homes. This year, they’re a little higher, with the average price of a new single-family home in August 2022 was $584,912, down from last month, but up from last year at this time.

All told, 869 homes are currently under construction in nearly a dozen new communities on the go, including: Bayview, Chinook Gate, Cobblestone Creek, Cooper’s Crossing, Lanark Landing, Midtown, Southwinds, Vista Crossing, and Wildflower.

On August 15 Council approved the Key Ranch Structure Plan for a new community from Lamont Land in the city’s northwest quadrant. The plan will see 1,186 new homes built for an anticipated 3,200 residents, according to a release from the City of Airdrie’s planning department.

Add to the list the coming-soon Sawgrass development from Hopewell Residential and the New Prairie Estates community in Balzac from Melcor and Airdrie and area is very well-positioned to absorb anticipated continued population growth.

Taking a closer look at the all-important Housing Starts by Dwelling Type statistic (see Figure 2), the August 2021 and 2022 are mirror images of each other. Single-family, semi-detached and row housing are all virtually the same year-to-year, other than the inclusion of the 142 new apartment-style starts this year.

On a year-to-date basis, though, it’s the single-family category where 2022 is still lagging around 18% behind 2021 totals. However, given the stronger absorption rate this year, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as builders adapt and starts undergo an organic correction to better reflect market activity. High starts and low absorptions is not a sign of a healthy market.

While interest rates might have something to say about whether 2022 new home starts can catch up to last year’s totals, what you can count on is more and more people wanting to move to Airdrie – a great place to live, work and play – and you can take that to the bank.