Housing starts in Regina and area have leapt ahead of last year – and also ahead of Saskatoon, statistics assembled by the federal government’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) say.
“I think there’s no doubt we’re going to end up setting some records this year,” said Stu Niebergall, executive director of the Regina & Region Home Builders’ Association.
CMHC said a total of 358 single-detached and multiple-family units were started in Regina in April, more than doubling the 142 reported in April 2011.
By comparison, Saskatoon reported a total of 245 starts last month, compared with 252 a year earlier.
One potential problem for Regina Niebergall said was “a significant amount of pressure on the availability and capacity for serviced lots for new homes and multi-unit starts”, adding it’s critical that organizations that provide approvals and services to the residential construction industry “are able to deliver their vital services in a timely manner or we could see an artificial constraint on new housing in our community”.
Broken down by category, the number of single-detached housing starts in Regina increased to 129 units last month, 59 per cent more than in April 2011.
An even more dramatic rise took place in multiplefamily units in Regina and area: 229 in April, compared with 61 last year.
Looking back over the year to date, Regina and area have seen starts of 369 single-detached and 729 multifamily starts.
That’s a total of 1,098, more than double the 472 reported in the first four months of 2011.
Regina’s multi-family starts were more than triple the 221 reported in the first third of 2011.
That level of activity prompted Niebergall to say that it’s evidence that Regina is “going to build our way out of the rental problem”.
In Saskatoon and area, there have been starts so far in 2012 of 556 singledetached and 317 multiplefamily units – a total of 873, down slightly from the 900 reported in the first four months of 2012.
The CMHC figures show that starts of single-detached houses in that area rose by 28 per cent, but multiplefamily units tumbled by 32 per cent.
Multi-family units are defined as semi-detached units, rowhouses and apartments. CMHC figures do not break down apartments vs. condos.
Taking an even longerrange look, Niebergall said “it is only the end of April and we have housing starts for individuals and families in Regina and area at levels that exceed the entire year’s housing starts for five of the last 10 years. We have not seen this pace of housing starts since 1979, when 2,500 homes were started.”
He added that this year’s array of housing starts in Regina and area are 41.1 per cent above the five-year average and 67.5 per cent above the 10-year average.
Tuesday also saw the economic research arm of the Bank of Montreal (BMO) report that total housing starts in Canada – projected to an annualized basis – had surged to 244,900 units, substantially higher than the 190,200 predicted at this time last year.
That increase caused BMO to state that, “Canada’s housing market, at least in certain sectors and cities, is at risk of overheating.”
Source: The Leader Post