The Planning Manager for Hanover says it has been a slower start to the year for construction than what has been the norm.

Jeremy Neufeld says from January 1st through March 31st, the municipality issued 45 building permits worth a total of $6.9 million. During that same period a year ago, the municipality had issued 57 permits worth $9.1 million.

The contrast is even starker when you compare only new housing starts. Through the first three months of this year, there were 12 permits taken out, worth $2.5 million. That is exactly half the number seen last year when there were 24 permits, for $7.3 million.

Of those 12 residential permits taken out this year, eight were in Mitchell and the rest in the rural area. 

Of the 24 residential permits taken out last year, 12 of those were in Kleefeld. So far in 2023, there has not been one residential permit taken out in that community.

"I think a big driver in Kleefeld for their growth has been affordable housing developments that have gone in," explains Neufeld. "Those affordable housing lots to my understanding are pretty much all taken up."

Neufeld says he was not sure what sort of year to expect for construction in 2023, noting there are a lot of factors at play. 

'We're all still feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living," he says. "Higher interest I think is impacting some of the new builds."

Not only that, but Neufeld says another challenge is the lack of available lots in many of their communities. 

"We have developers waiting on spring in each of our communities to get some development in it so we can start to see activity," adds Neufeld. "So, we're hopeful that once some of those lots come available, we'll see things improve and start to see more activity happening."

The quiet start to construction this year follows a similar trend seen in the last half of 2022. That year, Hanover got off to a very strong start before things fizzled. At the time, Neufeld also suggested inflation, interest rates and lack of available lots were all reasons for the slowdown.