Saskatchewan the Hottest Regional Housing Market In Canada through June
Alex Carrick -- August 15, 2007
“Last Hurrah” for Housing Starts and Home Price Increases
Manitoba (+24%) is the only other province with a significant increase in housing starts year to date. Québec (+5%) is in third place with only a modest increase, but compared to most other provinces, this has to be considered good news. Ontario (-16%) is way back in the pack, with only Prince Edward Island turning in a worse performance so far this year.
Among major cities in Canada, it is not surprising that Saskatoon (+75%) and Regina (+47%) are in first and third positions in a ranking according to percentage change. However, Thunder Bay, Ontario’s second place position is a bit of a surprise. Thunder Bay has traditionally depended on the forestry sector, both lumber and pulp and paper. Both of those sectors are struggling as a result of low prices and weak demand — due to inroads made by the Internet in the case of paper and newsprint products and due to depressed U.S. housing markets in the case of lumber.
However, Thunder Bay is being transformed (largely by the Ontario government) into a “knowledge” centre in northern Ontario. Initiatives undertaken to achieve this have included the new medical-doctor training school established at Lakehead University and the new MMRC (molecular medicine research centre) associated with the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital.
Last Year’s Hot Markets Drop in the Ranking This Year
New House Price Increases are Moderating
Vancouver (+8.8%) and Winnipeg (+6.5%) are the next tier of home price increases in the West. It is well to remember that Vancouver and Victoria started this year with an average level of actual home prices about 50% higher than anywhere else in Canada. In the East, the largest year-over-year price increases have been recorded in Halifax (+7.1%) and Hamilton (+6.1%). This has spurred on an increase in starts in Hamilton (+11%), but has so far left Halifax (-8%) in the same doldrums it has been stranded in throughout this latest period of heightened residential activity elsewhere.
Windsor, with layoffs in the auto sector, is the only city with a decline in house prices (-1%) year over year and it has also recorded the greatest drop in starts (-59%) among all of Canada’s cities.
Implications for Construction
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