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Construction boom spurs 22 per cent jump in housing starts

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Winnipeg’s homebuilding industry was on fire in 2012, as a surge in apartment and condominium construction helped to fuel a 22 per cent jump in housing starts for the year.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said today that 4,065 new housing units were started last year in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, which includes the City of Winnipeg and 10 neighbouring municipalities. That was up from 3,331 in 2011.

The multi-family segment of the market, which includes rental apartments, condos, semi-detached and row units, led the way with a 46 per cent jump in starts — 1,936 versus 1,329.

Single-detached starts were up by a more modest six per cent to 2,129 units from 2,002 in 2011.

"Winnipeg builders finished 2012 with a substantial increase in activity over 2011 with much of the growth driven by demand for multi-family housing," said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Winnipeg. "Low vacancy rates continued to spur construction in the rental market, whereas first-time home buyers and empty-nesters increasingly turned to the condominium market."

The impressive yearly results were achieved in spite of a 20 per cent decline in starts in the final month of the year — 169 units versus 211 in December 2011.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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