Conference Board Assesses New Home Construction

Article excerpt

The Conference Board of Canada recently published a fascinating report on Canada's residential construction industry, looking at macroeconomic drivers, industry trends and financial performance.

The board also looked at the changing Canadian housing market and the impact of the multi-family sector, once fairly dormant but now a major driver for the housing industry from coast to coast. Although the research is national and large urban centres such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal significantly influence numbers, there are some very important messages for all parts of our country.

Even though the Canadian economy is only expected to realize modest growth, the Canadian consumer is in a stable position. Almost 200,000 new jobs were created last year, unemployment was its lowest in four years and consumer confidence is increasing. This confidence level is buoyed by job and income prospects, although there is still reluctance in certain parts of the country to make major purchases.

Concern has been expressed about debt levels, and the Canadian consumer has heard this message. Between 2005 and 2010, consumer credit (primarily non-asset based or credit cards) was increasing at a rate of 8. …