News / Calgary

Homebuilders holding on in slowing Calgary economy

Buyers taking advantage of lower prices

Homebuilders say there are some advantages to working in this slower economy – such as increased availability of labour.

Metro File

Homebuilders say there are some advantages to working in this slower economy – such as increased availability of labour.

Calgary homebuilders are reporting a slowdown - but definitely not a full-stop - in the wake of the downturn.

Danelle Kaspers of Treehouse Developments – a housing contractor – is thankful the work has been continuing on.

“I’m flabbergasted there’s still as much going on,” she said. “It’s tough to say if a lot of these projects are pre-sold or if they’re speculative.”

Her company focuses on infills in established communities. She thinks some of the work they’ve seen is speculative, but they also get people who want to take advantage of the slower market to build.

“It was such a boom market before and prices were higher,” she said. “There’s definitely been a price reduction – there definitely had been up to a 10 per cent drop in price on some of the inner city developments.”

She said the main thing is, her company is still able to sell their product.

Homebuilders are taking steps to keep staff employed according to Wendy Jabusch, vice chair of the CHBA – UDI Calgary Region Association.

“Some of our members are cutting staff back to four days a week. Some are freezing salaries. There’s all sorts of ways our industry is responding, trying to keep everybody as employed as possible,” she said.

Although it’s not as busy as the height of the boom, that’s also leading to advantages in how job sites are run.

The big advantage is that trades are now showing up on time, meaning the entire project can flow more smoothly.

“Some of the challenges we had during the peak years was just literally getting homes built,” said Jabusch

She said tradespeople coming out of school may have a more difficult time finding apprenticeships, but she thinks those that do will get more attention from their mentors.

“If they can find that first employment opportunity – it’s a great time to start learning the business,” said Jabusch.