Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New home construction slows in city as condo development decreases

  • Print

MANITOBA home builders took a bit of a breather last month while their counterparts in other parts of the country continued to pump out new condominiums like there's no tomorrow.

April housing starts data released Tuesday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. show new home construction slowed in Winnipeg in April as a rebound in single-family starts was overshadowed by a much bigger drop in multi-family starts.

There were 256 combined starts in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, a decline of 1.9 per cent from 261 in April 2011.

The drop was due to a 12 per cent reduction in multi-family starts, including condos, apartments, semi-detached units and row housing. Builders broke ground on 88 such units, versus 100 a year earlier.

That decline overshadowed a 4.3 per cent increase in single-family starts -- 168 units versus 161 -- which partially made up for March's 12.8 per cent decline.

"Stable employment conditions and improved earnings continue to support demand for single-detached homes," said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC's senior market analyst in Winnipeg.

Himbeault said after four months, single starts were running 10 per cent ahead of last year's pace -- 561 units versus 509. And despite April's slowdown, multi starts were running 84 per cent ahead of last year's pace -- 446 units versus 242.

However, Himbeault noted new-home construction got off to a slow start last year and to a surprisingly strong one this year -- in part due to mild weather.

The 446 multi starts in the first four months included 183 rental apartments, 245 apartment-style condos, and 18 semi-detached condos.

Himbeault said the 183 rental units were the highest January-to-April total in at least two decades and that's good news for local renters grappling with one of the lowest apartment vacancy rates in the country (1.1 per cent).

Nationally, the number of home starts in April blew expectations out of the water and showed the country's condo market remains as hot as ever.

They hit their highest level since 2007 -- 244,900 units versus expectations of 204,000.

Economists appear to be getting worried about how strong housing starts in Canada have become. Saying that building has outpaced demand, Robert Kavcic of BMO Capital Markets sounded the bubble alarm Tuesday.

"There's little question now that Canada's residential construction sector is heated," he said.

Also of concern is the number of condos sitting empty in Canada, especially in Toronto. Canada has the highest stock of unsold condominiums since the early 1990s, said Holt.

He called it a "ghost city" phenomenon, noting CMHC estimates about 25 per cent of condominiums in the Greater Toronto Area are sold but vacant.

 

-- with files from Postmedia News

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 9, 2012 B5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Eddie the fat cat has dropped two pounds on diet

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Horses enjoy a beautiful September morning east of Neepawa, Manitoba  - Standup Photo– Sept 04, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support a proposed ban on tanning beds for youth under 18?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google