Business in Vancouver

BC housing starts hit highest level in decades last year

Province’s yearly total the highest since 1993

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 2:08pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 2:10pm

By Emma Crawford Hampel

Housing starts in British Columbia, Canada increased to 41,800 units on an annualised basis in December, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, giving last year the province’s highest yearly total since 1993.

In Vancouver alone, starts reached 26,500 annualised units in December, which is up from 22,400 in December 2015.

Across Canada, starts increased to 207,000 annualised units in December, compared with 170,900 units in December 2015. BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic said this latest data was higher than expected with strength coming from both single- and multi-unit starts.

“Aside from a burst of new condo projects in 2012, the national trend in housing starts since the Great Recession has been remarkably stable, roughly in line with demographic demand,” Kavcic said in a note to investors.

“We’re looking for a modest cooling of activity over the course of 2017, with a moderation in Vancouver and Toronto expected to dampen the national tally to around 185,000.”

In a separate release, Statistics Canada announced a 14.7 per cent increase in the value of building permits issued in B.C. in November. This was driven by a 21.1 per cent increase in the value of residential permits; this was partially offset by a five per cent drop in non-residential permits.

B.C. housing starts hit highest level in decades last year