New home starts strong, out­look promis­ing

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

LOOK­ING at the first five months of this year, the to­tal num­ber of new home starts in Win­nipeg and the sur­round­ing area is on par with last year. As noted ear­lier in the year, the multi-fam­ily (apart­ments, town­homes, con­do­mini­ums) are ahead of last year’s pace, while the sin­gle-fam­ily homes are slightly be­hind last year. History has shown the larger projects tend to get started ear­lier in the year and then ta­per off to an­tic­i­pated lev­els, while sin­gle-fam­ily homes build as the year pro­gresses. Don’t be sur­prised if the year-end to­tals fin­ish ex­actly as an­tic­i­pated, fairly well on par with last year. Early in­di­ca­tions are that new home starts in Win­nipeg and the sur­round­ing ar­eas will con­tinue at the cur­rent level in 2016 be­fore ramp­ing up a bit in each of 2017, 2018 and 2019. The fast-paced in­crease in starts at the start of this decade had no op­tion but to cool off for a three or four year pe­riod be­fore heat­ing up again. One school of thought is that this year and next year will both be ex­cel­lent times to pur­chase a new home as the mar­ket is more sta­ble and pre­dictable. In­ter­est rates re­main un­changed through­out this year and the labour avail­abil­ity, although tight, is able to ac­com­mo­date cur­rent new home de­mands. If the in­creased de­mand for new hous­ing over the last three years of this decade plays out as forecast and the skilled labour force declines due to re­tire­ment, the wait time could be longer and costs could rise at a faster pace. Both the new home and re­sale mar­kets re­main healthy in the Win­nipeg area. One in­ter­est­ing ob­ser­va­tion is that the turn­around time from list­ing or pur­chase in­ter­est to sale is length­en­ing slightly. This may be due to in­creased list­ings on MLS and the tremen­dous amount of choice op­tions for new homes. The num­ber of sales for both mar­kets is con­sis­tent and the in­crease in value and price is on par with last year. Con­sumers are just tak­ing a lit­tle longer to make their fi­nal de­ci­sions. It is im­por­tant to note that Win­nipeg and Man­i­toba have not ex­pe­ri­enced the declines that are cur­rently oc­cur­ring in Saskatchewan af­ter that boom pe­riod. The im­pact of lower oil and gas prices in Al­berta has not been fully played out in their mar­ket ei­ther. While we have not en­joyed the nat­u­ral re­source booms both of our prairie neigh­bours have ex­pe­ri­enced, we will con­tinue to pro­duce a su­pe­rior prod­uct at a su­pe­rior price.

Mike Moore is pres­i­dent of the Man­i­toba Home Builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion

AP PHOTO / MARK DUN­CAN

The to­tal num­ber of new home starts in Win­nipeg and the sur­round­ing area is on par with last year.

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