Dianne Himbeault: Five Quick Questions

AAOM has invited Dianne Himbeault of CMHC to participate in our 2013 Symposium. We have asked Dianne to discuss the macroeconomic dynamics of the Winnipeg and Manitoba housing markets, and to explain how market trends and conditions can support (or undermine) a valuation conclusion. Recently, Dianne told us a little about herself.–Rick Sherrin


DHimbeaultHello Dianne, I understand that you’re an economist, and that you work for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. What exactly do you do? As a Senior Market Analyst, I am responsible for the analysis and forecasting of economic conditions and housing markets for the Winnipeg area as a support to CMHC insurance and programs, the housing industry and the public. This includes new home construction, resale activity and the rental market.


What is your background, leading up to your current work? I have a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in City Planning.

I spent a total of 12 years at the City of Winnipeg working in the planning field: first, in neighborhood improvement; then development management planning; followed by long range planning as the senior planner responsible for Plan Winnipeg– a position that I left to join CMHC as a Senior Market Analyst.

Following a few years at CMHC, I returned to the City of Winnipeg coordinating downtown planning and urban design, and was Manager of Planning and Land Use. I returned to CMHC two years ago. 


Why is your work important? The market analysis work is important to inform the industry of economic and demographic trends that will affect new housing production, housing sales activity and prices, and rental availability and affordability.

This activity primarily provides information for CMHC in assessing risk for the underwriting of mortgage insurance for both single and multi-family development.

Forecasts are also important to new home builders’ business and project planning. Government also relies on CMHC information for monitoring housing as a leading economic indicator and in the development of programs for affordable housing.

CMHC also plays an important role in monitoring the entire housing market continuum as the different elements of the housing market, from new homes, resale and rental, cannot be looked at in isolation.


How is this relevant to property assessment? Property assessors determine the market value of properties in a base year, whereas as a market analyst I focus on the future direction of the markets on a macro scale.

However, it is important to understand the dynamics of the economy and demographics that affect housing demand and in turn housing prices.

When you are doing a valuation of a property and looking at past comparable sales, understanding those dynamics can help you understand how much upward or downward pressure there would have been on the market value of the property being assessed.


What types of information do you believe is invaluable to appraisers and the real estate industry? I believe an understanding of all housing markets and how they interact based on economic and demographic conditions is important to those working in the industry.

Even if you specialize in resale, you need to understand the dynamics of the new home and rental markets to understand how the resale market is functioning.


Thank you, Dianne. We look forward to your presentation in April.

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