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Housing market growing across Prairies

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Although this column tends to concentrate on the Winnipeg and Manitoba housing markets, we would be remiss if we didn’t comment on the strength of the housing market right across the Prairies.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have all enjoyed stronger housing markets this year and the optimism continues through next year.

Both Calgary and Edmonton have increased new-home starts by almost 100 per cent since the downturn of 2009. With just over 6,300 new home starts in 2009, both cities had experienced tremendous declines from earlier boom years.

However, in 2012, both cities are likely to exceed 12,000 starts and hold to around 11,000 next year. Resale homes continue to increase in value as average prices are projected to be $422,000 in Calgary and $341,000 in Edmonton.

Growth in Saskatchewan has been nothing short of phenomenal. From 3,866 new-home starts in 2009, our neighbours to the west increased to almost 6,000 the following year, more than 7,000 in 2011 and better than 9,000 this year. They’re  on track for more than 8,000 next year.

The demand for all housing in Saskatchewan is showing in price increases. The average price of a resale home in Regina is expected to hit $307,500, while in Saskatoon it will be $322,500.

In Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba, we didn’t experience the market depths that our Prairie neighbours experienced in 2009, nor did we boom to the extent they did this past year. We had fantastic growth and had the most starts in more than 25 years, but we did not double or triple our output from 2009.

Because we did not face a calamity in 2009, we have shown steady growth. Starts in Manitoba have gone from 4,174 in 2009 to 5,888 in 2010, and from 6,083 last year to 7,500 this year. We’re projected to remain at the 7,000 mark next year.

Projections have Winnipeg continuing to grow next year, with the single-family detached market remaining constant and the multi-family sector showing a slight increase in.

This more managed growth in Winnipeg is reflected in our resale home prices which are projected to average $265,000 — between $40,000 and $157,000 less than the extremes in Regina and Calgary.

While we continue to take pride in the strength of the new-home market in Winnipeg and Manitoba, we can see that the entire Prairie region is growing and prospering.

Mike Moore is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.

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