On this episode of the Construction Record Podcast, digital media editor Warren Frey speaks with ConstructConnect chief economist Alex Carrick and senior economist Michael Guckes about the current housing crisis, how it affects construction and the wider economy and what the differences are between the U.S. and Canada as housing prices climb higher and higher and supply shrinks.
Michael explained that while there is a narrative of people moving from larger cities to smaller ones because of increased housing affordability, numbers don’t explain other factors such as big-city appeal. He also said while starts are used to measure housing demand, completions add a layer of understanding to where the housing economy is going.
Both Alex and Michael agreed that labor continues to be a deciding factor in slowing growth of housing stock, which Michael attributed partly to an overreliance on the baby boomer generation which has now led to our current labour crisis. Alex also pointed to automation and modular construction as a possible path out of a labour shortage.
The latest headlines include Daily Commercial News staff writer Angela Gismondi has a story about how Atlantic Canada is feeling pressure due to housing and immigration challenges in addition to a labour pinch, and a story about the recent Mass Timber Seminar Conference at George Brown College in Toronto which pitched mass timber technology as part of a collective solution to the housing crisis.
From western Canada, Vancouver’s city council recently approved a change to zoning that allows multiplex units in most neighbourhoods in the city, a move Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim praised. However, the British Columbia construction industry’s push to get the provincial government to adopt prompt payment legislation has slowed, in addition to a “perfect storm” of inflation, interest rate hikes, supply chain issues and wildfires.
You can listen to The Construction Record on the Daily Commercial News and Journal of Commerce websites as well as on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music’s podcast section. Our previous interview featuring Angela Gismondi’s interviews with Atlantic Canada construction stakeholders is here. Thanks for listening.