Urban housing starts in July in Saskatchewan increased by 506 per cent, compared to July 2019, which was the highest percentage increase among the provinces, the provincial government said in a news release on Aug. 11. Most of that can be attributed to Saskatoon, which is on a tear with 593 new units in July alone.
“This is an incredible increase in July housing starts, which is good news for the province’s construction sector and economic recovery in Saskatchewan,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said on Aug. 11 “It’s more proof that Saskatchewan is weathering the external economic headwinds of the COVID-19 global pandemic and is in a solid position for a strong economic recovery.”
In the first seven months of 2020, Saskatchewan’s housing starts were up 81.8 per cent when compared to the same period in 2019, which is also the highest percentage rise among provinces.
In July 2020, housing starts on single family dwellings increased by 67.1 per cent (from 76 units to 127 units), and multiple units increased by 1,361.5 per cent (from 39 units to 570 units), compared to July 2019.
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing, Saskatoon accounts for most of those multi-unit dwellings, with 444 new apartment units in July alone. It also had 95 single units, 16 semi-detatched, and 38 row-unit starts.
Saskatoon has had 773 new multi-unit dwellings year-to-date, and a total of 1,272 housing starts. The Bridge City accounts for 73.8 per cent of the province’s housing starts this year.
Regina had a total of 78 new housing starts in July, with 22 single units, two semi-detached, 49 row-units and 5 apartments. Regina has seen a total of 379 units, year-to-date for 2020.
One bright spot in rural Saskatchewan has been Melfort, which has seen six residential housing starts this year-to-date, including one in July. That’s up from four, year-to-date in 2019, according to Brent Lutz, Melfort’s director of planning and development.
He noted on Aug. 12 that the value of residential permits is up as well, coming in at $2.3 million so far this year, up from $1.4 million for the same period last year.
“We’ve seen no reduction in activity due to the COVID pandemic,” he said.