Great start to the year for local home builders


Favourable weather has been a great benefit to local home builders, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
“The favourable weather has allowed single detached home builders to maintain their momentum into 2012,” said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s senior market analyst based in Winnipeg.
During January, the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which included the city and surrounding municipalities, recorded 136 single starts last month, which was 18 per cent more than the 115 homes started in January 2011.
“This represents the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year increases,” said Himbeault.
Home builders in the Winnipeg CMA began construction on 348 units — homes and multiple-family dwellings — in January, a substantial increase from the only 122 units started  in January 2011.
Among the total were 212 semi-detached, row houses and apartment units. A year earlier in the same month, there was just seven multiple-family units under construction.
“Multiple-family housing is also maintaining momentum,” said Himbeault, “with demand coming from Winnipeggers looking for rental housing as well as first-time buyers and empty-nesters looking for condominiums.”
WinnipegREALTORS® reported that by the end of last year, condominium sales were gaining an increasing chunk of MLS® unit sales. In fact, condo sales reached their highest level ever with close to 1,600 sales, which was a 10 per cent increase over 2010.
Condo accounted for 12 per cent of all MLS® activity last year, according to WinnipegREALTORS®.
WinnipegREALTORS® president Shirley Przybyl said first-time home buyers are particularly taking advantage of the condo market, which typically offers an affordable alternative for entry into homeownership.
Przybyl predicts that 2011 will see “more condo conversions happening and more condo developments, which offers more choices for home buyers.”
Breaking down the CMHC statistics, 105 single-family units were started in Winnipeg in January, while there were 31 starts  in the surrounding municipalities. In 2010, there were 89 starts in January within Winnipeg’s border and 26 in the neighbouring municipalities.
In January this year, all 212 multiple-family units under construction were in Winnipeg.