Neither cold nor snow can stop demand for new homes

Cold weather and heavy snowfall in November failed to put a halt to new home construction in Winnipeg and the 10 municipalities surrounding the city.

In fact, new home construction in November was 12 per cent higher than the same month in 2006, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

“November’s performance means that we have already exceeded total single-detached starts for all of 2006,” said Jeff Powell, CMHC’s senior market analyst.

The 154 homes begun in November helped boost the total of housing starts for the first 11 months of 2007 to 1,745 units, an eight per cent increase over the same period last year. 

During November, there was a total of 221 single-family and multiple-family housing starts. The month’s activity brought total housing starts for the first 11 months of 2007 to 3,244 units, an increase of 22 per cent over the same period in 2006. The number of starts this year represents a level of construction not witnessed since 1988, when there were 3,891 foundations poured.

“The strength in new home construction in and around the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area reflects demand from a variety of sources, including vacationers, recent immigrants and robust economic growth,” said Powell.

November’s activity was also strong in several municipalities outside Winnipeg. The RM of Macdonald had nine starts and East St. Paul recorded eight in 

November. During the first 11 months of the year, there were 44 single-detached home basements poured in each of the two municipalities.

In the RM of Springfield, the year-to-date total for single-family detached home starts stood at 100 units for the first 11 months — four basements were poured in November.

In the entire Winnipeg CMA, the 67 multiple-family units begun in November represents a strong performance for the month, according to CMHC. In November 2006, there had only been six multiple-family units started, while the 10-year annual average is just 21 units.

The November performance pushed year-to-date multiple family starts 44 per cent ahead of last year’s pace.

Thirty of the multiple-family starts 

in November were in the RM of St. Clements. Coupled with seven single-family detached home basements poured in November, the 30 multiple-family starts pushed total activity in the RM of St. Clements for the first 11 months this year to 128 units.

Nationally, the seasonally-adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 227,900 units in November, essentially unchanged from 227,600 units in October, according to CMHC.

“Housing starts remained strong in November and are consistent with our new home construction forecast for 2007,” said Bob Dugan, the chief economist at CMHC’s market analysis centre. 

“The strength in November is attributable to the good performance of single-detached home starts, which reached their highest level since March 2006.”