Prince Edward Island builders saw a 33 per cent increase in home construction investment in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same time last year, the highest proportional increase recorded in Canada.
According to Statistics Canada, the Island saw an increase in residential construction investment of $18.9 million, from $56.4 million to $75.3 million, in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same quarter in 2017. Home construction investment includes the costs of home construction, renovations, and sales taxes related to home purchases.
The numbers are further evidence that the province is experiencing a significant housing boom, which many are attributing to rising immigration and a strong economy.
According to Allan Manley, an executive officer of the Canadian Home Builders Association P.E.I., the increase in home construction has largely been concentrated in urban areas.
“Typically, when newcomers come to P.E.I. they like to congregate in the urban centres. It's just easier to integrate,” Manley said.
“So most of the builds you're seeing are Charlottetown-centric.”
Manley said Stratford has also seen an increased demand, but so has Summerside. Cornwall is expected to see a similar boom in the near future.
Canada saw an average increase of eight per cent in residential construction investment in the first quarter of the year, compared with the same quarter in 2017. The total residential construction investment in Canada during the first quarter of 2018 was $30.5 billion.
“Typically, when newcomers come to P.E.I. they like to congregate in the urban centres. It's just easier to integrate. So most of the builds you're seeing are Charlottetown-centric.”
According to Manley, the investment in P.E.I. has largely been driven by homeowners. Home builders have faced challenges in keep up with housing demands in the province.
"By and large you're seeing more condo units go up than you are rental units," Manley said.
"We have members who are booked into 2019, and we have some members who are booked into September."
According to Sam Sanderson, general manager of the construction association of P.E.I., the province is competing with other regions to attract skilled tradespeople.
"The number one issue in Canada is the shortage of skilled tradespeople," Sanderson said.
Sanderson said 21 per cent of Canada’s workforce of skilled trades workers is expected to retire within the next decade.
Islanders should expect the home prices to increase as a result of the boom.
According to the Prince Edward Island Real Estate Association, the price of homes sold in April 2018 rose 18.4 per cent from April 2017, hitting a record average of $229,650.