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Permits for new homes on the decline in Winnipeg

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Construction on new homes could be slowing in Winnipeg in 2024, as fewer permits are being pulled.

"We are seeing a decline in the number of permits going in at the City of Winnipeg," said Lanny McInnes, the president of the Manitoba Home Builders Association.

A city finance report shows permit revenue and related regulation fees are short by $8.4 million for the first quarter. The number of permits taken out is down by 25 per cent, and the values of those permits are off by 10 per cent.

The decreases are attributed to high interest rates. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicted housing starts would dip in Winnipeg this year because of financing costs weighing on developers. It said there's an increase in new homes not selling.

"It may just be a temporary blip, regardless, it's something to keep an eye on. High interest rates do make housing costly," said City Finance Committee Chair Jeff Browaty.

Browaty also said there may have been a rush to get permits in before the end of last year before new building code rules came into force

It's not just Winnipeg, numbers are fluctuating across the province.

According to Statistics Canada, building permit values were down for the first two months in Manitoba, but they jumped by 57.1 per cent in March, only to fall again by 30.5 per cent in April.

McInnes said single housing starts are stable in the province. He said it's the apartment and multi-family housing builds which are down slightly.

"What we're really seeing is a phase of apartment development in Winnipeg that's coming to a conclusion and with the next phase kind of being planned, so we're in a bit of a valley," said McInnes.

McInnes and other industry experts expect permit numbers to rise over the next couple of years, even later this year, as interest rates started to drop this month, which could encourage homebuyers.

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