Changing environment offers challenges and opportunities for the metro Halifax housing market

    HALIFAX, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - A sold out audience of more than 330 developers,
builders, lenders, realtors(TM), mortgage specialists and other housing
professionals gathered at the World Trade and Convention Centre today for
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC's) annual Housing Outlook
Conference. The conference featured an overview of the economy in Atlantic
Canada, the outlook for the metro Halifax housing market, as well as
information on the increasing demand for homes that are sustainable and energy
    "The housing sector in the Atlantic will continue to be a strong
contributor to economic growth and, as the economy is changing, those in the
industry should be aware of the current trends and challenges, as well as
opportunities," said Alex MacDonald, regional economist for CMHC's Atlantic
Business Centre. "The economic forecast for the Atlantic is supported by
recent gains in household income and continued positive outlook for
employment. Labour market conditions still remain tight and the price of
existing homes continues to close the gap with new home prices, but a good
selection of inventory is still available in the existing market. As a result,
housing starts will decline slightly in 2008 for Atlantic Canada after a surge
of activity was recorded in the second half of 2007," said MacDonald.
    Matthew Gilmore, senior market analyst for CMHC's Atlantic Business
Centre, provided a detailed outlook for the various sectors of the metro
Halifax housing market in 2008-2009. "High levels of employment, recent wage
growth and high consumer confidence will continue to support the Halifax
housing market in 2008 and 2009. While existing home sales are expected to
decline from their 2007 record level, economic strength and low mortgage rates
will sustain the market at near previous record levels. Construction activity
also will remain strong over the next two years with the industry adding many
new multi-residential units to the existing supply. This will result in
short-term upward pressure on vacancy rates, but continued demand for
multi-residential living due to demographic and lifestyle trends will offset
that pressure over the medium-term," said Gilmore.
    Ryan Scott, CEO of Avalon Master Builder of Calgary, provided his
experience in bringing to market homes that are based on the latest home
building practices of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. He
also provided insights into the challenges and opportunities for the housing
industry in response to increasing consumer demand to reduce environmental
impacts and energy and water utilization.

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national
housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians
access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant,
healthy communities and cities a reality across the country. For more
information visit or call 1-800-668-2642.

For further information:

For further information: Dawn Ring, Marketing and Communications
Consultant, CMHC, (709) 687-2194; Blair Riddle, Marketing and Communications
Consultant CMHC, (902) 426-6581

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