Immigration driving up demand for apartments, condos

Watch above: National housing day has prompted like-minded groups to offer information about the impact of immigration in Saskatoon. Amber Rockliffe explains how housing developers and providers are changing the way they do business to meet demand.

SASKATOON – A number of local organizations gathered Friday in Saskatoon to look at how immigration has changed the face of housing and celebrate national housing day. It’s no secret, strong employment growth and a booming economy are attracting newcomers from around the world.

According to Goodson Mwale, a senior market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), many newcomers are buying apartments and condominiums.

“2014 will be the first time in Saskatoon where multi-starts will have surpassed single-detached starts, so we’re looking at around 1,700 multi-starts compared to 1,600 singles,” he explained.

Mwale said this year’s record-breaking boom in multi-unit housing starts will also affect rentals.

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“We expect that rental apartment vacancies in Saskatoon will rise slightly this year, to about 2.8 per cent from 2.7 per cent last year, due to the additional supply that’s come on the market,” he said.

According to the provincial government, over 13,000 people immigrated to Saskatchewan last year.

“The market is responding to the demand for lower-priced homes,” explained Don Allen with Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.

“Single-family homes are hard to make affordable as compared to a multi-family home, so we’re seeing a lot more townhouses, row houses, apartments and condominiums being built,” Allen said.

According to CMHC, the majority of immigrants arriving between 2006 and 2011 settled in Canada’s largest cities but increasing percentages are settling down in small cities and towns.

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