June 2012 Prairie Economic Fundamentals

Ally

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#2
Saskatchewan saw biggest wage increase in March





Saskatchewan workers should be feeling a little richer these days, as the province posted the largest year-over-year increase in average weekly earnings in Canada in March, Statistics Canada said Thursday.




Earnings growth among the provinces in March was highest in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, according to the payroll employment, earnings and hours report by Statistics Canada.




"In Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings were $918.15 in March, up 5.9 per cent from 12 months earlier. Earnings in the province have exceeded the national average since August 2011," the federal agency said.






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#3
Condo craze: Urban lifestyle finally materializing in Winnipeg's downtown core




It looks like the long-sought urban lifestyle is finally materializing in Winnipeg's downtown.




The first completed project benefiting from the $40-million city-provincial Downtown Residential Development Grant (DRDG) program officially opened Thursday. And there's a lineup of another 1,500 downtown condominium units in development or pre-development ready to come to the party over the next three to five years.




The Penthouse, a 60-unit, $12.3-million, six-storey upscale development at 100 Princess St. in the old Penthouse Furniture building was the first to be finished. The landmark occasion brought out the mayor and the premier in a clear sign of the strategic importance of getting more people to live downtown.





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#4
Winnipeg's apartments pay the rent again



One of the city's most active apartment-block developers in the 1960s, '70s and '80s is jumping back into the game after more than two decades on the sidelines.





The Edison Rental Agency, which will be changing its name to Edison Properties this fall to reflect its re-entry into the development business, plans to build three new apartment blocks -- 215 suites in all -- on the site of the Springfield Heights retail mall on Rothesay Street.





Michael Acht of MMP Architects (left), Frank Koch-Schulte, general manager of the Edison Rental Agency, and Miriam Bergen, president of Edison, stand in front of the strip mall that will be demolished to make way for the development rendered abvove. (COLE BREILAND / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)





The apartment blocks will be part of a $50-million, 350,000-square-foot residential/retail complex planned for the site. The complex will include a four-storey base structure, with roughly 10,400 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and three floors of apartments. Above that will be the three apartment buildings, with another seven floors of suites in each.





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Ally

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#5
Renting out Regina





Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) recently released their spring 2011 study and reported that Regina`s vacancy rate was at 0.7%. What most people don`t realize is that CMHC only collects data on multi-family apartments with four or more suites per building.



They do not study data pertaining to rental homes. However, if we could include the vacancy data for affordable, average rental homes in Regina, the number would most likely not be much different. However, having said that, good tenants continue to find places to rent provided they qualify as low-risk, good tenants. Tenants with a good credit rating, a previous rental history with supporting landlord references and an employment history, can and do find housing in Regina. These days, landlords have the tools and the ability to check this history and have the right to choose the best tenant. It`s true (and imperative) that everyone must have shelter to survive in Saskatchewan, but it is not a landlord`s obligation to approve tenants that do not qualify. The key to choosing the right tenant should not be left up to luck.







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#6
Winnipeg: Prairie oyster





Winnipeg has taken a lot of low blows over the years - often ridiculed for its freezing temperatures, its bloodsucking mosquitoes and its sky-high snow banks.







But chuckle as you will - Winnipeg is getting the last laugh. In fact, as many of Canada's major cities took a dip during the recession, this hardy Prairie city has not only survived - but thrived.







"Winnipeg certainly has done very well over the past 10 years," says Allan Asplin, president, Judy Lindsay Team Realty in Winnipeg. "In 2008 when we saw the subprime situation our market only fell approximately two per cent.







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#7
MLS sales momentum continues in May



Residential property sales reported through the Regina and area MLSÂ System were up in May the Association of Regina REALTORSÂ Inc., said the Association.





There were 444 sales reported during the month in all geographic areas, the second highest for May ` only behind 2007, when 494 sales occurred, and up 11 per cent over 399 in 2011. There were 359 sales reported in the city, up four per cent over 2011 when 346 properties were sold.





The average sales price for all areas broke the $300,000 mark for the second consecutive month, coming in at $303,585. This was up two per cent from the previous high reported in 2011 of $296,851. The average in the city was $312,971, up three per cent from $304,791 posted last year.





Total dollar volume of sales for all areas surpassed the $100 million for the third month in a row, coming in at $134.7 million. This is up 14 per cent over $118.4 million posted in 2011. Dollar volume in the city also set a new all-time high of $112.4 million, an increase of seven per cent from $105.5 million in 2011.





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#8
Apartment vacancy rate up in Manitoba, but just barely




WINNIPEG ` Manitoba`s apartment vacancy rate has improved slightly, but is still the lowest in the country, according to a new report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.




The federal agency said the province`s overall vacancy rate inched upward to 1.2 per cent in April from 0.7 per cent a year earlier and 1.0 per cent in October of last year.





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Ally

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#9
Saskatoon gains another 900 jobs in May



Saskatoon is on track to create a record 10,000 jobs says Kent Smith-Windsor, executive director of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce





According to Statistics Canada's most recent Labour Force Survey, Saskatoon businesses gained 900 jobs in May.





"And we're at about 6,600 jobs (gained) in eight months," Smith-Windsor said."The only hiccup was (April) when we lost 100 jobs.





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Ally

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#10
Saskatoon retail space in short supply





Retail space in Saskatoon is a scarce commodity these days, with a vacancy rate below two per cent, according to a retail market report by Colliers International.




"It might as well be zero," said Duncan Mayer, research associate with Colliers. "Anything that we have right now is more structural - either its not an ideal location or it has just come up for the moment and will be leased out within the next couple of months."




Despite a 35 per cent increase in retail space over the past five years, vacancy has declined by 1.78 per cent to a paltry 1.96 per cent as demand for retail space consistently outstrips supply, the report said.






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Ally

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#11
Saskatchewan politicians can't agree on job stats





There were 546,300 persons working in Saskatchewan in May, 10,400 more than in May 2011, according to the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey released Friday.




The May 2012 employment number was also 400 less than in April 2012, if you use seasonally adjusted figures.




But if you use unadjusted numbers, then employment rose by 14,500 between this April and May.






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#12
Regina's vacancy rate lowest in Canada





Oil exploration and job growth are fuelling demand for apartments in Saskatchewan.






The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the average apartment vacancy rate in the province`s urban centres fell from 2.5 per cent in April 2011 to 2.1 per cent last April.






Regina`s vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent is the lowest among all census metropolitan areas in the country.






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#13
Oil exploration, job growth fuel demand for rental housing in Saskatchewan



REGINA - Oil exploration and job growth are fuelling demand for apartments in Saskatchewan.





The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the average apartment vacancy rate in the province's urban centres fell from 2.5 per cent in April 2011 to 2.1 per cent last April





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Ally

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#14
Regina market remains hot





Despite a cooling trend in home sales and prices across the country, Regina's real estate market remained relatively hot in May, posting the second-largest increase in sales at 18.9 per cent and an average price increase of 7.2 per cent for the year to date, according to statistics released Friday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.




While sales dropped 14 per cent from April to May, year-over-year sales were up 10.7 per cent in the Queen City, CREA said, slightly ahead of the national average increase of nine per cent. CREA reported homes sales across the country last month fell 3.1 per cent compared with April.






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#15
Saskatchewan manufacturing sales record set in April





REGINA ` Saskatchewan`s manufacturing shipments totalled $1.1 billion in April, a record for the month, according to data released Friday by Statistics Canada.




Shipments increased by 15.7 per cent in April compared with April 2011, the second-highest year-over-year percentage increase among the provinces and well ahead of the average 5.8-per-cent rise nationally.




While seven provinces posted decreases in manufacturing shipments between March and April, Saskatchewan actually increased sales by 2.1 per cent ` the third-highest seasonally-adjusted increase among the provinces during that period.






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#16
Regina housing starts to hit 2,150 in 2012





REGINA ` Total housing starts in the Regina area are expected to increase nearly 27 per cent to 2,150 units in 2012 from 1,694 units in 2011, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation`s spring housing market outlook released Thursday.




However, CMHC forecasts total starts to fall by seven per cent to 2,000 in 2013, largely due to a slowdown in multi-family unit construction activity






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Ally

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#17
Regina's average house price above $300,000 in May







REGINA ` There were 444 sales reported in the Regina area last month, the second highest for May ` behind only 2007, with 494 sales ` and up 11 per cent over 399 in 2011, according to the Association of Regina Realtors.




The average sales price broke the $300,000 mark for the second consecutive month, coming in at $303,585, up two per cent from the previous high reported in 2011 of $296,851.






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Ally

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#18
Saskatoon house prices continue steady hike




The average home price in Saskatoon continues to push upwards, hitting 328,297 in May compared to 304,457 in May 2011, an eight per cent difference for the year-to-date.




"It is staying on that steady course we have seen for the last couple of years," said Jason Yochim, executive director with the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors.




"It seems growth is consistently five to eight or nine per cent (per year)."




So far in 2012 there have been 2,411 sales in Saskatoon, up about 17 per cent from last year, while listings have stayed the same.





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Ally

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#19
Saskatchewan's housing sector hot in June





Saskatchewan's super-heated housing industry showed no signs of cooling down in June, with the two major cities posting 635 housing starts, up 32 per cent over the same period last year, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) said on Tuesday.




Home builders in the Regina area started 181 housing units in June, up from 113 starts in June 2011, while in the Saskatoon area, starts totalled 454 units last month compared to 370 in the same period last year, CMHC said.






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Ally

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#20
Winnipeg's housing crunch still 'rampant'




Winnipeg still has a persistent, severe shortage of affordable housing thanks in part to condo conversions and rent hikes in newly renovated buildings.




The city is in the midst of developing a new city-wide housing policy, and is working to draft new recommendations to address the slim number of affordable housing units.




Project manager Kathryn Graham told the city's housing steering committee on Monday there is still a "severe shortage" of affordable rental units as more apartments are converted to condos and rents are raised in buildings that have been recently renovated.





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