Do some players in the Saskatoon construction industry know something that the rest of us don’t?
The value of building permits taken out by developers in the first quarter of 2017 jumped 26 per cent to $219.8 million, up from $175 million for the same three months a year ago.
Ordinarily, such a spike might not raise many eyebrows but with vacancy rates across commercial, industrial and residential sectors at or near historical highs, Mark Cooper, president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Construction Association, said it’s understandable if some people are scratching their heads.
But he said the medium-term and long-term prospects for the Saskatchewan economy, and the Saskatoon economy in particular, are very strong.
“The fundamentals are here. We have things that the world needs, like fuel, fertilizer and food,” he said.
Just as importantly, however, is the fact that construction prices are currently “very low” due to increased competition.
“If you know you’re going to be in the marketplace for 10 years you should be building now because you’re not going to get cheaper prices,” Cooper said.
There is still a fair amount of speculative investing in Saskatoon, too, he added.