Vancouver housing starts strong in September

Housing supply has been top of mind across Vancouver for many months as more housing advocates, politicians and experts look to solutions in order to meet the demand for affordable housing.

New data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shows that in the long-term, housing starts in Metro Vancouver have declined. However, the month of September is showing promise with the seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) being the highest in Canada since November 2021.

According to CMHC, housing starts for Metro Vancouver declined 23 per cent in the first half of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021. This decline was most pronounced in the condominium market, with 43 per cent fewer units underway during the same period.

Eric Bond, senior specialist for market analysis with CMHC, said it is important to bear in mind that last year saw a period of heightened construction.

“Nonetheless, we note the important decline in condominium construction that flows from the higher interest rate environment, the higher inflation environment, the difficulty in obtaining construction materials and labour, all of which is leading developers to take a more cautious approach to condominium construction,” he said.

In contrast to condominiums, rental starts remained strong and reached a multi-decade high as more policymakers place emphasis on this form of housing. Starts increased by 18 per cent for the first half of 2022 when compared with the same period last year.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) said year-over-year, starts were up by 19.3 per cent from September 2021. In B.C. specifically, starts increased by 10.9 per cent, to a total of 54.3K units SAAR for all areas of the province.

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