Condos Drive Steep Growth in BC’s New Home Construction Spending: StatCan

Investment in new multi-family buildings takes over from detached homes as construction in province quickens pace, according to statistics agency

April 21, 2016

Apartment building construction

Spending on new home construction in BC increased 21.8 per cent year over year in February to $765 million – a jump of 10 per cent compared with the previous month, Statistics Canada reported April 21.

Unlike January’s figures, February’s highest total investment out of the four property types was in condo-apartment construction, which rose 49.5 per cent year over year to $335.5 million. This was an increase of 15.3 per cent over the month before.

Total spending on detached home construction was close behind at $335.3 million, a rise of 5.7 per cent over February 2015, and a month-over-month increase of 6.3 per cent after a slower January.

New townhouse/rowhome construction investment, although always much lower in total numbers, also continued its steep rise, up 23.4 per cent year over year to just over $72 million in February. This was also a rise of 7.4 per cent compared with January 2015.

As with the last several months, the only class of housing to see a decline in investment was once more duplex homes. Spending on new duplexes fell 21 per cent year over year in February to total just over $22 million, although this was a 1.4 per cent recovery from January’s total of just below $22 million.

BC’s total $765 million spend on new homes made it the second-highest-investing province after Ontario, which spent nearly twice as much, at $1.47 billion.

BC’s 21.8 per cent annual increase in February was also the second-sharpest rise in new home investment, with only Ontario's growth outpacing the province. Alberta's investment in new homes continued to slide, posting a near-25 per cent drop compared with February 2015.

Investment in housing construction across Canada again rose at a much slower rate than BC’s, increasing 5.4 per cent year over year to a total of $3.7 billion in February, which is a rise of 0.8 per cent compared with January.

As in BC, Canadian condo construction investment saw the steepest growth in overall spending, which rose nearly 25 per cent year over year to nearly $1.4 billion across the country. Townhomes and row homes also saw another round of increased spending, up 8.2 per cent since the previous February.

Yet again, February saw year-over-year declines in detached home and duplex construction investment across Canada, with spending on these housing types dropping 4.3 per cent and 18.1 per cent respectively.

To see Statistics Canada’s interactive chart, click here

Joannah Connolly has been editor and content manager of since May 2014. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, and has moderated and spoken on several industry panels. During this time, she also spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio 98.3FM. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 20 years of journalism experience in Vancouver and London, with a prior background in construction, architecture and business media.
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