New-home con­struc­tion goes through roof

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Mike Moore

IT was no sur­prise the first quar­ter of new-home con­struc­tion in Win­nipeg and through­out Man­i­toba would be stronger in 2010 than in 2009.

Af­ter all, we were just start­ing to come out of the re­ces­sion and con­sumer con­fi­dence was still on shaky ground.

How­ever, since the Spring Pa­rade of Homes, new-home con­struc­tion has been vi­brant. De­mand for new homes has been con­sis­tently solid ev­ery month of this year. The first seven months have seen an in­crease in starts over 2009 each and ev­ery month.

The re­sults are most im­pres­sive. To date, in Win­nipeg and sur­round­ing ar­eas, there have been 1,096 sin­gle fam­ily de­tached home starts. This rep­re­sents an in­crease of 283 homes or 34.8 per cent over last year.

Multi-fam­ily dwellings present a much more dra­matic change. Last year, by the end of July, there had been 163 units started. The eco­nomic con­fi­dence in ini­ti­at­ing projects of this mag­ni­tude was very low. How­ever, this year there have been 987 multi-fam­ily units started in Win­nipeg, a stag­ger­ing in­crease of over 600 per cent.

In to­tal, the 976 starts over the first seven months of 2009 have turned into 2,083 starts in 2010. Only cities like Ed­mon­ton, Oshawa and Vic­to­ria, who were ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated into com­plete in­ac­tiv­ity by the re­ces­sion, have shown greater growth this year.

Year-end pro­jec­tions that com­menced at 4,600 units for the prov­ince are be­ing re­cal­i­brated to more likely sce­nar­ios ap­proach­ing 5,000. This would re­turn Man­i­toba to the lev­els ex­pe­ri­enced a cou­ple of years ago.

What is the cause of this in­creased de­mand for new hous­ing? There is no sin­gle rea­son; much like our econ­omy, it’s di­ver­si­fied. Win­nipeg and Man­i­toba are still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sig­nif­i­cant growth through im­mi­gra­tion and net mi­gra­tion from other prov­inces.

As well, Man­i­to­bans, in gen­eral, tend to build up more eq­uity in their homes than other prov­inces, thereby mak­ing it eas­ier to cre­ate a solid down pay­ment on a new home. Also, mort­gage rates have re­cently dropped some­what.

The res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion in­dus­try has had a strong first seven months in 2010 and is ex­pected to be con­sis­tent all year. This will bode well for em­ploy­ment and the econ­omy in gen­eral. Man­i­to­bans are acutely aware that now is a great time to buy a new home and are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity.

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