Quebec faces a shortage of 100,000 housing units, according to a housing construction association

The Association québécoise de la construction d’habitations said the province was short of nearly 100,000 homes to meet household demand.

Filling the shortage of rental properties and units will be “a nice challenge” for builders who are already dealing with labor shortages, rising building material prices and supply chain disruption. supply, said the Association of construction and housing professionals of Quebec’s director of the economy (APCHQ), Paul Cardinal, after the group recently updated its estimates.

The economist estimates that it is possible to close the gap over a ten-year horizon, which would require the construction of 10,000 more homes each year than the average rate of about 50,000.

“Over five years, it would be a bit more difficult,” Cardinal said. “Not just for everyone to coordinate and launch projects, but labor is scarce.”

The pace has been set in 2021 with nearly 68,000 housing starts across the province, but maintaining the pace will not be easy.

“These units have not yet been delivered,” Cardinal said. “These are projects that have started, but the construction times are a little longer due to supply problems. Our people are already very busy.

“Would we be able to sustain another 68,000 people for five years? I don’t think so. At 60,000 it’s probably possible.”

PRICE PRESSURE

The lack of supply is largely responsible for the surge in house prices.

The price of owner-occupied housing rose 16% in 2020 and 19% in 2021, the biggest increase since the data was collected in the early 1980s.

For every active listing, there were approximately 2.8 properties sold at the end of December. A market is said to be balanced when the ratio is between 8 and 10. Below this threshold, it is a seller’s market.

By category, the deficit will reach approximately 58,000 housing units intended for owner-occupiers, 15,000 rental units and approximately 37,000 social housing units in Quebec, according to the most recent data from the association.

To take into account substitution (tenants who become owners, for example), the APCHQ rounds the total of 110,000 dwellings to 100,000.

“This estimate does not represent an exact figure, but it does give an idea of ​​the extent of the needs to be met”, specifies Mr. Cardinal.

MUNICIPAL, PROVINCIAL, FEDERAL SUPPORT

In the meantime, elected officials will have to take the necessary measures to encourage and accelerate construction.

“The scarcity of land in many municipalities argues in favor of denser urban development,” Cardinal said. “However, building high-rise apartments is a more time-consuming process. When it comes time to develop high-rise apartments, it’s more complicated. Sometimes there are citizens who oppose it. It can be fine up to consultation processes and that can go for projects that die or are significantly revised.”

The APCHQ said it was satisfied with the measures announced by the Trudeau government to support housing construction in its latest budget.

The federal government wants to double the number of apartments under construction within 10 years. It will devote $4 billion over five years to a fund to accelerate the construction of 100,000 affordable housing units.

The promised money will allow municipalities to “move more quickly” in issuing building permits, Cardinal said.

If he supports the creation of a registered savings account for first-time buyers, he is reassured that this electoral promise was not the only measure announced.

“If we had just played on the demand side, without increasing supply, we might have exacerbated the supply/demand imbalance a bit,” Cardinal said.

As the next provincial campaign approaches this fall, the APCHQ intends to make proposals to the main parties to increase the number of properties built in Quebec.

The association will reiterate its call for increased funding for affordable housing. She wants the government to review the QST rebate rates on new homes. He is also asking that Quebec double the tax credit for the purchase of a first home, which the federal government has just announced.

The APCHQ team is also considering proposing new solutions to elected officials, but the process is not yet complete, said Mr. Cardinal.

“The provincial government needs to understand that even with what has been announced by the federal government, it will not be enough to rebalance our markets,” he said.

— This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 13, 2022.

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