Housing Forum proves highly informative
THE Manitoba Home Builders Association conducted its annual Housing Forum last week at the Victoria Inn. There were 19 educational seminars presented. The day started with keynote speaker Ron Buist, former marketing director for Tim Hortons, informing the crowd about the humble beginnings of the industry giant and how the Roll Up the Rim to Win promotion came to fruition. Topics included energy efficiency in new homes, on-site project leadership, sales-tracking strategies, communications, marketing plans, healthier workplaces, generational differences and changes to workplace safety and health codes. One of the highlights every year is the housing-market outlook presented by Diane Himbault of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Diane spoke in detail about Manitoba’s economy and the factors influencing it. Provincially and locally, she looked at the new and resale markets, singlefamily detached housing and multifamily. New-home starts have shown a decline in 2014 from the record numbers of last year, with a levelling off for the next two years. An interesting development in new-home construction is the continued growth in percentages of starts by the multi-family (condominiums, apartments, row houses, town homes) sector. The panel consisted of representatives of the building community, the development community and the City of Winnipeg administration. The panel began with an economicimpact study showing residential construction accounting for 27,300 jobs in Manitoba and 5.9 per cent of the province’s GDP. Then, a number of public misconceptions were presented, including new-home margins and who pays for what in a new development. A study from the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association was shared with the audience. Ottawa’s numbers are very similar to Winnipeg’s. Watch for future columns on housing affordability. Mike Moore is president of the Manitoba
Home Builders’ Association.