Strong immigration helping drive up PEI housing starts

A healthy pace of inbound immigration towards Prince Edward Island – indeed, the strongest in the region – has propelled housing construction activity to levels far above the national average.

According to the latest numbers from the PEI Construction Association, the maritime province’s housing starts have increased by 64% over the past year, way above the 11% rate nationally. Vacancy stood at less than 0.5%.

“This year is looking like an amazing year again in construction, both on the commercial and residential side,” association general manager Sam Sanderson told The Canadian Press.

This is despite PEI’s immigration nominee program having been criticized for undue leniency, as it grants permanent residency even prior to proof that the immigrants have actually resided in the region.

Read more: Chinese buyers aren’t quitting Canadian homes any time soon

“The number of immigrants per 1,000 people on PEI showed that once again they led the country in terms of immigration rate. About 2,350 permanent residents went to PEI last year, so that's a measure of immigration,” Atlantic Provinces Economic Council senior policy analyst Fred Bergman said.

Population growth brought about by this influx of immigrants has already yielded significant dividends: Employment in PEI went up by 3% last year, and wages grew by 3.6%, a rate outstripped only by B.C. and Ontario. Retail sales grew by 7.4% over the same time frame.

 

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