Homebuilders’ association touts role in provincial economy

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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New data released show home construction down

Roofers shingle a new home. The provincial branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association says residential construction is making a significant contribution to the province’s economy. — Associated Press file photo

The provincial branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association is meeting this week to discuss the economic impact of the industry, as Statistics Canada releases data showing a 25 per cent drop in the value of residential construction in the past year.

The association is hosting its annual housing forum Wednesday at the Airport Comfort Inn on Wednesday, half a day of presentations on the residential construction industry’s role in the provincial economy.

Data released Friday by the association note that new housing starts hit 3,885 last year — 2,153 in the St. John’s area — which, according to the association, translates to 3,100 jobs in construction, renovation and related fields, and $719 million in wages.

“The starts and the jobs and the wages and everything, it should establish the industry as a pretty significant contributor to the overall economy,” said Victoria Belbin, the provincial association’s CEO. “When we show these numbers, people will say, ‘Huh. Really?’ They don’t look at the residential construction industry in our economy. It’s all about the big side, the commercial construction and industrial construction. But obviously, with such a growing economy, it’s the housing industry that really is also a major contributor, because people need to have places to live. As well as we see the economy changing, people also change their housing.”

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada on Monday released seasonally adjusted data on the value of building permits across the country, showing an overall 8.9 per cent drop across the country in the value of residential permits issued, from just under $4 billion in March 2012 to $3.6 billion in March this year.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the $50.7 million in building permits issued in March was a healthy boost over February’s $34.3 million, but a 24.9 per cent drop from the $67.5 million in building permits issued in March 2012.

Chris Janes, senior market analyst for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) — who will speak at the housing forum Wednesday about housing trends — said while the number of single-detached homes has been more or less flat, there’s been a steep drop in multiple-family units started.

“In particular condos — we’ve had a lot less condo starts so far this year compared with the first three months of 2012,” he said.

“If we look at the single-detached segment, which is the key driver of this market and what we really focus on at CMHC in terms of trends, that has been flat year-to-date, so that’s a better indicator of the health of the market. The multiple-family, the multiples segment is extremely volatile.”

The outlook for multiples this year isn’t rosy, said Janes.

“Last year, we really had an overbuild situation in condominiums, and a lot of the builders realize that now. There’s a pretty large supply right now of brand-new condos for sale on the market, either completed or pre-sale, and they’re not moving very quickly, so that market right now is fairly saturated.”

 

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com

 Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Statistics Canada, Canadian Home Builders, Airport Comfort Inn Canada Mortgage and Housing

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Ginger Roberts
    May 13, 2013 - 13:17

    "Just finished a four year battle with a contractor who reneged on his contract, cheapest goods and very poor workmanship. All of these so called contractors need to be vetted by a professional body which would may then more accountable. The last monies I payed there was not a nail or screw put in. Now I have to have the house repared at more expence." Did you check references? Was this builder better than the others or did you just pick the lowest bidder. Typically, you get what you pay for. Should the builder be in breach of a contract, then you could have sued already.

  • PETER L
    May 09, 2013 - 13:39

    And they wonder why the underground economy is thriving? They overcharge for the work, no guarantees, and hard to get them and long wait time. I can get someone from the underground economy, get the job done faster and cheaper, and they do guarantee their work, cash well spent. And hey some of these so called contractors also do "underground" cash jobs, quicker to get them in for cash. A total farce!

  • Geoff Young
    May 09, 2013 - 08:59

    Just finished a four year battle with a contractor who reneged on his contract, cheapest goods and very poor workmanship. All of these so called contractors need to be vetted by a professional body which would may then more accountable. The last monies I payed there was not a nail or screw put in. Now I have to have the house repared at more expence.

  • CHB Association a freaking joke
    May 07, 2013 - 16:05

    This province has little regulation or licensing of Contractors. The CHB should start to stand for something instead of being a farce. The biggest investment we make in our lives is our home and there are far too many contractors who do shabby work, incomplete jobs or jobs that do not meet the few codes we do have but the homeowner is left on the hook. Any fool can call himself a contractor and set up a contracting business - this is wrong.

  • Elizabeth Park
    May 07, 2013 - 14:45

    Then you got Builders in Elizabeth Park asking for a 5% "Non-Refundable" deposit to start a new home!!! This is insane! Bunch of bums!

  • Turry from town
    May 07, 2013 - 12:47

    So the cartel are meeting wednesday to agree on how much more they can jackup housing along with real estate agents.They are the two groups that are solely responsible for making a home unaffordable for alot of people in the St.John's area.

  • james
    May 07, 2013 - 10:28

    Many home builders are a scourge on our economy. They throw up poor quality homes cutting corners everywhere with no concern for long term quality and charge maximum prices. Buyers can't easily tell the difference once a home is completed, until years to come when the problems begin. There are of course exceptions to every rule and a few home builders that do at least do good work, but they are the minority. The housing market is so extremely overvalued right now in St. John's.

  • New Home Owner
    May 07, 2013 - 07:27

    If you want a story to report, go talk to some of the folks building new homes. These so called Builders are taking the customers for all their worth!!! Demanding non-refundable deposits, tripple charging for upgrades and the list goes on!!! This is almost criminal!!