Vancouver construction delayed by permit backlog
Builders in the Vancouver area say they are having to wait far longer than normal for approval of building permits. Permits are usually processed within 8 weeks, but a huge backlog means that in some cases it’s been 8 months! Builders blame a bylaw which would mean a greener city. The introduction of the new regulations was due this month prompting a rush of applications before the tougher requirements came into force. The bylaw has now been postponed until January. Builders need applications to go ahead quickly so they can maintain a consistent building program. Some have already been forced to lay off staff as projects have stalled. The City says it is working to clear the backlog by mid-August. Read the full story.
Buyers snap up dream homes… well, not quite
While hot demand for condos and single-family homes in most of our cities frequently outstrips supply, in the ‘dream home’ market, things are a little cooler. In Nova Scotia
, a slowdown in foreign buyers seeking rural recreational property since 2008, has meant homes being listed for years in some cases and experts say there are some bargains to be found. For example, for around the average price of a new condo in Toronto, you could pick up a salmon fishing lodge in the Margaree Valley, set in 60 acres with a waterfall in the backyard, three doubled cottages and a five-hole golf course. Okay so it’s 20km from the highway on a dirt track and some way from local amenities, but idyllic for some buyers. Then there’s the entire island with its own sandy beaches, listed for under $1 million. Realtors say that it’s not unusual for these kind of properties to be listed for a long time, but say that Nova Scotia offers so much for the money that it should certainly be considered. Read the full story.
Homes are in demand but what about services
While home construction is under pressure to keep up with demand, the question of amenities is often overlooked. Construction projects often focus on building as many residential units as possible, but where are these new residents going to shop, dine or access services? We love our city lifestyle and globally more people are living in metropolitan areas, but neighbourhoods are not just about living space. Often new residents fall in love with a new home and its downtown location, but as downtown is spreading further out, they may need to take the car to the nearest shop or restaurant. As available space is often an issue for commercial development, there may be no easy solution to the problem. For purchasers a home in an area without amenities may prove to be a real issue and will surely impact resales too. Read the full story.
Toronto rents fall… for now
Figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board show that condo rents have fallen in the city over the last year. A typical one bed unit listed on the MLS rents for $1,610 now compared to $1,583 at the same time last year. Some outskirts are seeing increases but the general pattern is lower rents as more condo developments are completed. A scenario by Veritas suggested that if condo rents fell too low, investors may decide to sell rather than take a lower yield. This could force a correction in the condo sector and wider market. This is considered unlikely, especially as there is a predicted growth in the rental market, especially among young people, which could see rents rising again. Read the full story.
Demand grows in Canmore
Residential property sales in Canmore are getting hotter, with the last quarter recording the third highest resales ever. A report by Sotheby’s shows a 7.5 per cent increase in sales from a year ago; 161 properties were sold in the last quarter. Sotheby’s Christopher Vincent says that confidence has returned to the Alberta market and pent up demand is driving the sales surge. Read the full story.