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There were just eight completed and unsold new townhouses available across the entire Metro Vancouver region as of December 31, 2016, according to the Urban Development Institute’s (UDI) State of the Market 4thQ 2016 Research Report published February 20.
The quarterly report – which is compiled by research group Urban Analytics on behalf of UDI Pacific Region and examines local new home sales, housing supply and population growth – reveals a severe shortage of new home inventory despite record housing starts in 2016.
Anne McMullin, UDI Pacific Region president and CEO, said, “The report confirms that doing nothing, blaming foreign buyers, or introducing new, punitive taxes have not made housing more plentiful or affordable for home-seekers.
“We need more houses for more people, especially along rapid transit corridors. We have plenty of available land, but 85 per cent of it is locked up as restrictive, single-family zoning, meaning no multi-family condos, townhomes, rowhomes, duplexes or even sales of laneway homes are permitted.
“Coupled with years of delays in multi-family building approvals, rising land costs and lack of available land to build on … home-seekers can count on prices to keep rising.”
McMullin added, “We all have to share in the solutions and consider the greater good and community health.”
McMullin said that the best measurement of supply is the amount of new housing is currently available, not just the number of housing starts, as homes are often pre-sold before they’re even built.
The report cited low inventory across all property types, highlighting that as of December 31, 2016, there were only 26 new concrete condos that were completed and unsold in the Metro Vancouver region. The report added, “At the end of Q4 2016, there were a total of 3,416 new multi-family homes available to purchase, which is down 30 per cent from the same quarter last year and still near historic lows. Low released and unsold inventory levels continue to be a primary contributor to the lack of new home affordability across the region.”
Following a slower third quarter of 2016, sales of new condo units in Metro Vancouver recovered by 46 per cent in Q4. The report said, “A combined total of 4,347 new multi-family home sales were recorded in Q4 2016 and while this total is down 15 per cent from a near-record total recorded in Q4 2015, note that they were up 46 per cent from last quarter.”
Population growth remains on a steady growth trajectory and continues to be a key contributor to a strong housing market, according to the report, with Metro Vancouver’s population up 30,700 residents over the past year.
The report also looked at global economic factors affecting local real estate, including the election of Donald Trump as US president and his recent travel ban on seven countries. The report added, “While the ramifications of this policy are uncertain, our stance is that immigration controls such as these only further elevate the status of Canada as a safe and desirable place to immigrate to.”
To read the full report, click here and see below for a video statement from UDI president Anne McMullin.