Rebuilding homes in Fort McMurray - Going faster than expected, CMHC says

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Rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray, Alta., are running ahead of expectations, with reconstruction underway on one-third of the homes destroyed in last year’s wildfire, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

In a report Thursday, the federal agency said the rebuilding of 844 housing units has started and that number is expected to rise to about 1,000 this year. It said 122 of the projects were started last year and 722 in the first half of this year.

CHMC market analyst Tim Gensey said the agency underestimated how many construction workers would come to Fort McMurray when it suggested last December only 600 units per year could be rebuilt.

He said the strong numbers also reflect the devotion of residents.

He said the speed at which housing units are being rebuilt is due to factors including competent local builders, a communities reconstruction management plan and the municipality’s target of issuing building permits within 48 hours of completed applications.

The fire that swept through the community of about 70,000 last year caused an estimated $3.8 billion in insured property damage and destroyed nearly 2,600 homes, including almost 1,900 single-family houses.

At the current pace, all home rebuilding activity should be complete in three to four years, CMHC said.

The Canadian Press