Metro Vancouver home building on pace to set record

Urban-area apartments drove surge to 39,000 starts last month: CMHC

2016 is shaping up to be a record year for housing starts in Metro Vancouver, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In its recent report, urban area housing starts across B.C. reached just more than 39,300 units in November, up from 37,700 in October.

About 27,000 of those units began construction in Metro Vancouver, primarily made up of apartment projects in Vancouver.

In the Abbotsford-Mission area however, housing starts were down in November, at 965 units compared to 1,152 units in October. This downward trend extended across all home types.

“Total housing starts trended higher in November due to a large number of apartment starts in the City of Vancouver,” said Robyn Adamache, CMHC Principal Market Analyst for Vancouver.

Still, other major urban centres like Abbotsford, Mission, Kelowna, and Victoria are seeing about one-third more housing starts this year compared to last.

“2016 is shaping up to be a record year for housing starts as builders add much needed supply in the region.”

Despite the increase, Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association CEO Bob de Wit said development is still “generally under-built,” and that more homes are still needed than what’s being built.

Following the implementation of the foreign buyers tax in Metro Vancouver by the provincial government, de Wit said custom-built houses and renovations have slowed down as a result.

Cities also being affected include Kelowna and Victoria, markets where some foreign buyers have looked as an alternative where the new 15 per cent tax doesn’t apply and where buyers are look at the senior-alternative markets.

De Wit said BC Housing’s report on warranty registrations – set to be released Monday – will show a better picture of what the future of housing looks like.


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