May 8, 2014 4:45 pm
Updated: May 8, 2014 7:41 pm

New construction down 64 per cent in Moncton

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MONCTON – The construction season is off to a dreary start in New Brunswick.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released new numbers Thursday that paint a bleak picture of the construction season in the province, especially Moncton, where new construction is down 64 per cent.

Kraig Guptill is graduating from carpentry this spring, but he doesn’t plan to stick around the province for long.

“When I get my license I want to move out west.”

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He says there simply isn’t enough work to keep trades people busy in the province and statistics by the CMHC shows he may be right.

“Last year we had a lot of construction in the rental market, this year we haven’t seen that,” said Claude Gautreau from CMHC.  “The vacancy rate in New Brunswick is a lot higher than it’s been, say, in the last 10 to 15 years.”

He says construction of large multi-unit buildings has stalled and new-home construction is also down. In Moncton, Gautreau believes the market is over-saturated. There are too many buildings and not enough people.

“If you look at the younger age groups we can see that employment is trending down a little bit and so if you have young people having a hard time finding employment they may be prompted to look outside the province.”

Moncton contractor Glen Chamberlain says there are also fewer people moving south from the northern part of the province.

“Campbellton and Bathurst up along the north shore, work was down up there,” he said. “The mines shut down, the mills shut down so people were moving down here for work. But there is only so many people that can move down.”

New construction building permits have also dropped since January. But there might be growth in another area.

“We’ve seen a boom in renovations in the past two years because I think people are investing more in their homes,” said Denise Charron of the Moncton Home Builders Association.

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