Raising Roofs Faster Than Expected
McNeill, Murray, Winnipeg Free Press
AN early spring start has new homes going up at a faster pace than expected this year in Manitoba, while a shortage of listings is holding back sales of existing homes, a new report says.
In its second-quarter outlook, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. predicts 6,300 new housing units will be started this year in the province, including 3,500 in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). That would be 217 more than in 2011 and 150 more than the agency forecast in February.
On the resale-homes side, the agency has downgraded its estimate for sales of existing homes in the province this year. It's forecasting 14,100 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales, which would be 156 more than in 2011, but 100 fewer than it forecast in February.
Nationally, CMHC said Canada's new- and existing-homes markets are both expected to moderate this year.
It predicts Canada's housing starts will be in the range of 182,300 to 220,600 units, and MLS sales will be 431,200 to 516,100 units.
The average MLS selling price is expected to climb by two or three per cent to between $341,100 and $406,700.
Dianne Himbeault, CMHC's senior market analyst for Manitoba, said strong demand and unseasonably warm weather in the winter and early spring enabled Manitoba's homebuilders to get off to a unusually fast start this year.
"The first few months were quite a bit stronger than expected and continue to be stronger than expected."
Himbeault said demand for single detached homes will remain strong, especially among buyers looking to take advantage of the equity gained on their existing homes as a result of rising resale prices. …