Ottawa home builders not betting on a big 2017

Ottawa home builders aren’t optimistic they’ll see a better 2017 after several years during which a shrinking public-service workforce weakened the local housing market. By Ryan Tumilty.

John Herbert, executive director of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association, said it hopes 2017 shows a rebound, but they're not optimistic.

“We’re hoping it is a better year,"  he said. "The past couple of years have been pretty tough.”

According to Herbert, housing starts in 2015 were, at 4,972 units, the lowest since 2005 and a 25 per cent decline from 2013. He said that while the final numbers are not in, they don’t expect 2016 to be much better.

Herbert said job cuts in the federal government that began under the Conservative government spooked the local economy. 

He said things haven't really changed under the Liberals. 

“There was some hope that the federal government might restore some of the lost positions, but that does not appear to be happening,” he said. “It really undermined consumer confidence for all large capital items, not just homes.”

He said the upside for consumers is that new home prices won’t increase significantly as long as this climate exists.

“We used to see six, seven, eight per cent annual increases. We are down to 1.5, maybe two per cent."

This article originally appeared in Metro News.