Assessing the market from coast to coast
WE have spent some time in recent columns looking at Manitoba and Winnipeg housing starts, both in terms of past years and the forecast for this year and beyond. The record year of 2013 was preceded by significant growth following the worldwide financial crisis of 2009. However, starts in 2014 returned to more traditional levels — still above the five- and 10-year averages. It appears as though this year and next year will be similar to 2014 in newhome starts, both in terms of singlefamily detached homes and multifamily units. However, what are the factors that will affect starts across the rest of Canada? Atlantic Canada has fallen upon hard times in terms of starts. Population growth has been in decline for 18 months. However, forecasts for 2015 indicated resumed population growth, resulting in increased new home starts. The outlook in Quebec indicates a stronger export market. With immigration projected to increase, housing should be positively affected. The condominium market in the Greater Toronto Area is projected to decrease this year from a tremendous year in 2014 — the third best on record. Due to the length of construction time of highrise condos in the GTA, it is difficult to forecast too far down the road. Saskatchewan has experienced a building boom for the past two or three years. So much so, that an inventory surplus currently exists. Until this inventory is cleared, anticipate fewer starts. Condominium starts and sales remain strong in both Calgary and Edmonton. Prices appear to have stabilized in both centres. The forecast for Vancouver newhome starts is a slight decline, but the province as a whole will show an increase. As we can see, issues impacting housing and new home starts from coast to coast do not vary that much from what we experience in Manitoba. As the year progresses, we will see how accurate these projections really are.
Mike Moore is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association