Approval timelines remain one of the crucial factors that influence the lack of housing supply in the Metro Vancouver area, according to the recently released Market Intel real estate report by MLA Canada.
This was particularly apparent in the municipalities of Burnaby, Vancouver, and the District of North Vancouver, with project approval timelines being among the region’s longest (almost 2 years).
Adding to the end buyer’s burden is the fact that construction costs have grown by nearly 50% on average over the past 5 years, the report stated.
MLA Canada executive director and partner Cameron McNeill urged municipal and provincial officials to “be progressive in our solutions to provide housing – the long-term viability of our cities depend on it.
“BC’s fundamentals remain stronger than elsewhere in the country. This means pressures on our housing market will continue, particularly with population increasing and housing starts declining,” McNeill added.
Read more: Empty homes tax helped ease some of Vancouver’s supply woes
Initial returns of the city’s 2018 empty homes tax showed that the levy has had a noticeable impact on both vacancy rates and supply, although the government emphasized that the positive effects are mostly on the market’s rental segment.
The ratio of unoccupied houses in Vancouver declined by 15% in just one year, from 1,085 homes in 2017 down to 922 in 2018. Over half of previously empty homes have also been moved to the rental market.
Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart said that the numbers might indicate the start of a promising trend. “The year-over-year numbers are very encouraging.”
The MLA Canada study noted that British Columbia’s population will see steady growth for the foreseeable future, with approximately 50,000 new residents in 2019 alone.
“With job opportunities remaining high compared to other provinces, interprovincial migration will likely remain constant over the next three years. As housing starts are expected to decline in Metro Vancouver over the coming two years, this adds pressure to the housing market,” the report explained.