Archive for September 13th, 2012

Multi-family homes skyrocket

Thursday, September 13th, 2012


Multi-family homes skyrocket

WINNIPEG’S multi-family homebuilding sector is on fire, with the number of starts up 74 per cent from a year earlier and on pace to hit their highest annual level in 25 years.

New figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Tuesday show there were 1,355 multi-family units started in the first eight months this year in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (CMA).

That already surpasses the total for all of last year, which was 1,329 units. It’s not far off the 1,501 starts recorded in 2007, the best year since 1987 for multi-family housing construction in the city.

This year’s eight-month total included 830 condominiums and 525 rental units. The latter include apartments, row-housing units, and semi-detached units.

Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Manitoba, said builders have already surpassed their condo total of 517 units for all of last year.

“So this year is going to be the year of the condo, perhaps,” she said.

This year is also shaping up as one the better ones in recent memory for rental-unit construction — good news for beleaguered Winnipeg renters grappling with an overall vacancy rate of about 1.2 per cent.

Himbeault said builders have a good shot at matching last year’s rental-unit total of 812, also the highest yearly tally since the late 1980s.

The CMHC figures show local builders had the pedal to the metal last month, starting work on 557 single- and multi-family units. That was an 89 per cent increase over the 295 posted in August 2011.

The 256 single-detached units started during the month were an 11 per cent improvement over the 231 started a year earlier, and left year-to-date total starts running 34 per cent ahead of last year’s pace — 2,089 units versus 2,790.

— Murray McNeill