As homebuilders navigate a new reality in the COVID-19 world, Calgary New Home + Condo Guide chatted with BILD Calgary Region chairman Collin Campbell to gauge the response of the local homebuilding industry to the pandemic.
1. With Canada Bank maintaining interest rates at 0.25 per cent, will this help spur the homebuyer market? What is BILD Calgary’s opinion of the move?
Interest rate reductions generally do help the market, as it makes the cost of borrowing more affordable. This allows more people to enter the market for the first time, and for others to move up within the market. That said, it is one of a number of factors that drives the homebuyer market. The current public health crisis, as well as the economic stability, employment rates etc. all influence people’s decision to buy. For buyers in the market, the low interest rate does provide a great opportunity to take advantage of right now.
2. Will this be enough? What do you think is needed to help Calgary’s particular needs?
Like everyone, we are deeply concerned for health of our citizens. We are also concerned for the health of our economy. As governments and communities navigate these unprecedented times, it is critical to identify any safe opportunity that preserves economic activity, including business operations, employment and housing. Our collective ability to adapt during the crisis period and safely maintain as much momentum as possible will support our speed and quality of recovery as we transition out of this crisis, eventually moving into the “new normal” way of life. We need to make sure we continue collaborating with all levels of government to make this happen.
3. Speaking to some of the builders, they told me that before the pandemic hit they were seeing stronger demand in the homebuyer market. Did you see that too? What’s BILD’s projection like looking to the rest of the year now?
The market was looking up at the start of this year, over last year’s numbers. We were seeing incremental improvements in a number of areas in our market. It is hard to know what the rest of the year will look like, given the uncertainty but we are optimistic that when the crisis has subsided, that consumers will return to buying new homes and investing in real estate.
4. What will BILD Calgary advocate for in helping recover from this situation?
We are currently working with policy makers to look at ways of streamlining processes so that when things start to move forward again, we can be more nimble and get projects to market more quickly. We need to all work together to re-establish confidence, employment and cash flow in the economy through economic incentives.