Winnipeg housing starts rise 44%
August 10, 2017
Housing starts in the Winnipeg region soared 44.2 per cent in June, compared to the same month a year earlier, as the Manitoba capital continued to see a surge in residential construction.
June’s big increase came on the heels of an 81 per cent year-over-year gain in May, when 722 new starts were recorded.
The elevated level of construction activity boosted starts for the first half of 2017 to 3,168 units. That’s an 82 per cent more than were recorded in the first six months of 2016, with a third of those starts being apartment-style condominiums, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Manitoba Home Builders Association president and CEO Lanny McInnes suggested that there are two key reasons for the first-half increase.
One is that the inventory of unsold condos that built up over the previous two years had been whittled down by the start of 2017, so builders began ramping up production again.
The other is the city’s new development fee, which took effect on May 1. The fee, which amounts to about $5 a square foot, applies to any new house or condo built in new or emerging areas of the city.
Once the new fee was announced, builders and home buyers started scrambling to get their building-permit applications in before the deadline to avoid having to pay the fee, which adds about $9,200 to the cost of an 1,800-square-foot home, McInnes explained.
]For the first six months of 2017, multi-family starts were up by 120 per cent to 1,979 units in the Winnipeg CMA and single-family starts were up by 41 per cent to 1,189 units, reports CMHC.
The Winnipeg CMA includes Winnipeg and 10 neighbouring municipalities.