2019 ‘challenging’ for Saskatoon’s home builders: SRHBA

The demand for more affordable housing was the lone bright spot for Saskatoon’s new home builders, according to the SRHBA. File / Global News

While 2019 was a challenging year for new home builders in Saskatoon, there was a bright spot, according to the group who represents them.

The Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association (SRHBA) said Tuesday the value of building permits issued for the year fell by $18.1 million when compared to 2018, a decrease of almost 19 per cent.

“We knew 2019 was on track to be one of the slowest years for new home construction in Saskatchewan,” said the association’s CEO, Chris Guérette.

“Seeing the numbers makes it that more real.”

Saskatoon posted a decline of 14.4 per cent in the number of single-family permits issued during the year. It was starker in Prince Albert, the SRHBA said, with single-family permits off 88.2 per cent compared to the previous year.

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“New housing absorption dropped by almost 18 per cent in 2019, the seventh consecutive year of decline and the lowest sales volume since 2006,” Guérette said.

“None of the regions covered by the association posted growth in terms of the number of building permits for single-family homes.”

The demand for affordable housing was the lone bright spot, according to the association, with 664 multi-family permits issued in the region, an increase of 17.5 per cent compared to 2018.

SRHBA said economic factors and public policies, including the mortgage stress test, PST on new housing construction, and increased municipal fees, were factors in the decline.

Guérette said she continues to work with the provincial government to revive the new housing market.

“We can start by considering ways to foster growth by getting people moving through the housing continuum again,” she said.

Guérette has previously stated the SRHBA is actively lobbying the provincial government to remove the six per cent provincial sales tax from home construction.

Looking forward to 2020, the SRHBA expects slight improvements to the market due to a moderate recovery in the economy and lower borrowing costs.

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