The area saw only 7 housing starts last month, a nearly 50 per cent drop from the 15 residential projects begun on March 2015. Construction of “multiple housing” units like row houses and apartment complexes also went down significantly, with only 16 started last month compared to the 127 around the same time last year.
The development came in the wake of weak real estate prices in St. John’s last year, with two-storeys and bungalows experiencing less than 1 per cent growth and condominiums actually dropping by 10 per cent.
“A lack of economic growth, mostly due to low oil prices, continued to restrain new home construction activity in March,” CMHC analyst Chris Janes stated in a news release, as quoted by CBC News
Royal LePage realtor Glenn Larkin assured that it’s not all gloom and doom for St. John’s, however.
“First-time home buyers in the city are benefiting from a buyer's market, which is providing them with more options and the opportunity to negotiate,” he explained.
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An April 8 report by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation revealed that the rate of new development and construction in St. John’s was below expectations last March, perhaps signalling that the once-hot market won’t be getting back on its feet any time soon.