A new housing advocacy association says Saskatchewan needs more homes built to keep the market balanced.
On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan Housing Continuum Network projected a deficit of 100,000 housing units to match expected population growth over the next eight years.
The group is made up of a number of housing-related industry groups, including the Saskatoon and Regina Home Builders Associations, the Saskatchewan Landlords Association and Habitat for Humanity.
"We're concerned that the growth in the housing market is maybe not happening as fast as it should," said Chris Guerette, CEO of the Saskatchewan Realtors Association.
"People need to live somewhere."
The network worked with an economist to predict how many housing units were needed in the community, working off the provincial government's growth plan to increase the population to 1.4 million people by 2030.
To put the 100,000 new homes number into perspective, Guerette said Saskatchewan has produced 98,000 housing units since 1990.
"Essentially, we're asking to produce the same amount or more in an eight-year period," she said.
"That provides the context required for everybody to just kind of have that shock and say, 'Now's the time to have those conversations.'"
Housing prices rise
The group said the market's main issue right now is a lack of available homes on the market. While Regina's housing market remains balanced, Saskatoon has a shortage of single-family homes.
As a result, any region that has a housing shortage right now is seeing prices rise.
Denis Perrault, CEO for Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan said that climbing housing prices are a big problem for his clients. A member of the network, Habitat for Humanity helps people who couldn't normally afford to buy a home get into home ownership.
"I recognize that if there's a shortage of supply, it puts constraint on our partner families," he said.
"It makes it more difficult for us to be able to be in the business of building safe, decent and affordable homes for our partner families."
Perrault said that housing affordability is becoming a serious problem for many people across the province, regardless of their income level.
"I think that the average person, if they are in the market right now for buying a home, likely found challenges," he said.
"I have really seen a shortage of inventory and and an increased amount of demand."
Ultimately, the group said it is coming out with another study that will give advice on how it believes the provincial government and municipalities should react to the situation. A release date for that report has not been released.
In response, the provincial government said in a statement it would review the report and was confident that housing providers would work together to make sure there was enough housing stock.
It noted that the number of housing starts in urban areas had increased by 43 per cent in April, compared to last year, which was the third highest year-over-year percentage change in Canada.