Housing starts on P.E.I. at a 5-year low, down 13%
2014 housing starts projected to drop 17 per cent
It looks like P.E.I.'s housing construction boom is grinding to a halt. Analysts say when it comes to housing starts- P.E.I. will see the lowest this year in the past five years.
Richard MacCallum, with MacCallum Electric, knows construction is slowing down. After several great years, he now often works just a few days a week with his electrical business.
“Last summer it was on and off, didn't have that much work and this summer it looks even worse,” he said.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said numbers show a slowdown in housing has begun and predicts it will last a while.
Housing starts in 2013 are down 13 per cent.
The forecast for 2014 is even lower at 17 per cent and 2015 is projected to drop 10 per cent.
“There will be obviously less need for people in the construction field, when you have less houses, less apartments being built. There will be a decline in that sector we're expecting,” said Jason Beaton with CMHC.
The downward trend is happening after some record high years.
From 2008 to 2012 there was a construction boom that was helped by a provincial nominee program which brought 10,000 new residents to P.E.I.
“As we are seeing, those in-migration levels decline, the requirement for new housing is going down,” said Beaton.
That, on top of people moving away to Alberta and tougher economic times is causing the slow-down.
The drop was dramatic in Stratford, where housing starts were down 43 per cent in 2013, compared to 2012.
“It certainly hurts in all areas when construction is down, but we've exceeded our expectations in housing over the last number of years and we feel at this point we're levelling off,” said Coun. Gary Clow with the Town of Stratford.
The bulk of MacCallum's work is wiring new homes. He's close to retirement but worries about the next generation.
“The two young fellas I have working for me here, it's going to make a big deal to them because I don't have the work right now,” he said.
“Probably go west, that's probably the trend, you know, if you can't put food on your table then it's time to head west,” said MacCallum’s son Alex.
Analysts with CMHC says P.E.I. will need more jobs, and more people moving to the province, and staying, in order for things to pick up again.