Monday, February 11, 2008

Economic prospects continue to encourage housing starts in Prince George

The city's record for job growth will draw more people to Prince George and encourage more new home construction, says Serena Teakles, market analyst for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Job creation in the city was up 6.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2007, she noted.
UNBC, an inland port in Prince George and the airport expansion have created a lot of positive publicity for the city.

"That's attracting a lot of people,"Teakles said Friday. "Increased numbers of people going to work means more will be able to buy a home.

"New home construction will be fuelled by that increased demand."
A strong local labour market, job growth in the city and continuing reasonable mortgage rates are driving housing demand, Teakles said.

Last month's total of 17 starts -- all for single, detached houses -- was a 31 per cent increase over the 13 seen in January 2007, she said. Yet one month is not enough to establish a trend. Last December there were only three starts, down dramatically from the 17 recorded in December 2006. With such fluctuations, month-to-month comparisons are not always statistically useful, Teakles said.

However, the CMHC predicts 340 starts on new homes for the whole of this year, up 3.7 per cent from the 328 recorded last year, she said.

As to the resale or used housing market, the CMHC expects the number of sales transactions to slow slightly.

"We've been at historic highs recently, so it will be more of a moderating trend," Teakles said. "But we still expect prices to be rising."

Published by The Prince George Citizen

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