Provincial lender sees modest rise for Alberta home prices

Home prices will see a modest rise year-over-year in Alberta this year according to ATB Financial.

The regional lender’s economic forecast calls for growth this year as non-energy sectors perform well, but points to the province’s “stubbornly high” unemployment rate.

“We saw growth return to the province last year and almost every economic indicator points to July of 2016 as the pit of the recession. That was 19 months ago. It is time for Albertans to re-orient our language and thinking away from the recession and focus on growth,” said ATB Financial’s Chief Economist Todd Hirsch.

However, he noted that there are significant challenges for Alberta’s economic growth.

“There are threats beyond our control that add uncertainty to our economy including NAFTA negotiations and the opposition to pipeline expansion,” said Hirsch. “Household debt levels are also at record levels, and borrowing costs are rising. As well, the global economy may be shifting into another period of financial and market volatility.”

Housing starts in the province are expected to be unchanged or slightly lower than in 2017.

Alberta’s economy is forecast to grow by 2.8% this year and 2.2% in 2019, down from 3.9% in 2017.

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