Hous­ing starts on track with last year’s num­bers

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

THE num­bers are in for the first three months of the year and, if one looks deeper into the mix, we see that new home starts are right where they should be, with the prom­ise of con­tin­ued growth. First-quar­ter starts for sin­gle-fam­ily de­tached homes are ex­actly even with last year. Last year was a good year, al­beit a decline from the pre­vi­ous two years, which were be­yond an­tic­i­pa­tion. There­fore, on one hand, starts can be con­sid­ered flat or even with last year. On the other hand, be­ing even with last year means we are on track for the fourth-best year in terms of new home starts over the past 27 years. The num­bers be­come skewed when we con­sider the multi-fam­ily starts. Win­nipeg had an un­usu­ally high num­ber of multi-fam­ily starts in Jan­uary. This will even out over time and all in­di­ca­tions are the multi-fam­ily num­ber will fin­ish rel­a­tively close to the fore­cast by year end. Based on ab­so­lutely no science other than what I per­son­ally saw and heard dur­ing the Spring Pa­rade of Homes, I agree the multi-fam­ily num­bers will be bang on what was an­tic­i­pated. How­ever, there ap­pears to be a growth spurt in sin­gle-fam­ily de­tached homes oc­cur­ring right now. It might be due to the early spring weather we have been re­ceiv­ing, but the sales and leads em­a­nat­ing from this year’s Pa­rade are far out­dis­tanc­ing last year’s. Let’s hope that shows in in­creased start num­bers as the year goes on. With the drop in oil prices, ex­pect fewer Man­i­to­bans to be mov­ing to Al­berta this year. In the past, we have ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive net migration, es­pe­cially to Al­berta, but also re­cently to Saskatchewan. Both man­u­fac­tur­ing and agri­cul­ture will ben­e­fit from the lower Canadian dollar, hope­fully re­sult­ing in spend­ing con­fi­dence on the part of con­sumers. The Canadian Home Builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion re­cently con­ducted their an­nual gen­eral meet­ing and con­fer­ence in Hal­i­fax. Part of the pro­gram in­cludes an an­nual awards cer­e­mony. Man­i­toba was prom­i­nent in th­ese awards. Derek Thorstein­son of Parkhill Homes was named CHBA builder mem­ber of the year. This pres­ti­gious hon­our was in recog­ni­tion of Thorstein­son’s tire­less ef­forts and lead­er­ship shown at the lo­cal and na­tional level in tech­ni­cal mat­ters such as build­ing, fire and en­ergy codes. Also rec­og­nized with awards of hon­our were Glenda So­bie of Ven­tura Homes and Lau­rie Fin­ley of the Win­nipeg Free Press for their con­tri­bu­tions to the Man­i­toba Home Builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion and the res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

Mike Moore is pres­i­dent of the Man­i­toba Home Builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion

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