Loading articles...

One third of homes destroyed in wildfire have started to rebuild

PHOTO. Houses in Beacon Hill rebuilding after being destroyed by the 2016 wildfire. Jenna Hamilton/ Morning Reporter.

One third of homes destroyed in the 2016 wildfire have started to rebuild.

In a report released on July 20, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) says that there has been strong construction activity in Fort McMurray and faster than expected.

There has been 844 housing starts since the wildfires and if the construction stays at this pace, CMHC says the rebuild should be complete in the next three to four years.

“We were expecting the rebuild to take a few years, but we weren’t expecting so many units to get started so fast,” said Tim Gensey, a market analyst, with Canada Mortgage and Housing.

The report says that this has been one of the strongest years for housing starts in the RMWB in 10 years.

With residents who lost homes in the wildfire renting as they rebuild and more workers coming up to assist the community, Gensey says the vacancy rate has dropped from 29.4 per cent in 2015 to 17.8 per cent in 2016.

“We saw vacancy rates decline in 2016 and they are declining in 2017. In 2016, a large driver of that was folks who were displaced from their homes by the wildfire taking up temporary residence in the rental market,” said Gensey. “We expect this year, with those workers coming up to assist the rebuild that vacancy rates come down to probably 10 per cent.”

CMHC expects the rebuild to continue for 2018, with more houses starting and more being complete with residents moving back in.