New Home Construction Investment in BC Smashes Previous Record: StatCan

Joannah Connolly
June 21, 2016

New housing investment in BC rose to a record high of more than $945 million in April 2016 – a jump of 28.3 per cent over the $736 million spent in April 2015, and a lift of 15 per cent over the previous month, Statistics Canada reported June 21.

The figure smashes the record set in October last year of $874 million, and bodes well for construction in 2016. The new housing investment trend cycle has historically been relatively low in spring compared with late summer and fall months, so this record is likely to be broken again several times this year and could breach the $1 billion mark for the first time.

Detached houses in the province received the largest chunk of investment, having re-emerged as BC’s home type seeing the highest total spending the previous month, this time rising 17.3 per cent year over year to more than $430 million. This was an increase of 13.1 per cent over the month before.

Spending on new condo-apartment buildings, which until recently had seen the most investment, was the next highest in April at $402 million. However, this housing type once again recorded by far the sharpest year-over-year increase, a leap of nearly 49 per cent over April 2015, and a month-over-month rise of 17.7 per cent over March.

Statistics Canada said in its report, “Higher investment in apartment and condominium buildings contributed the most to the gain [in BC], followed by single-family dwellings and row houses.”

Townhouse and row home construction investment in the province continued its rise from a lower base figure, up 25.6 per cent year over year to nearly $86 million in April. This was also a rise of 14 per cent compared with March 2016.

Investment in BC duplexes continued to wane, dropping in April by 13.7 per cent compared with the same month a year ago, to total less than $27 million, although this was a strong improvement of 11.6 per cent over March this year.

The $945 million total investment in new housing in the province meant BC held onto its place as the second-largest-investing province, once again easily outpaced by Ontario, which spent more than $1.67 billion on new home construction in April. BC’s 28.3 per cent annual increase was also the second-steepest increase in housing investment in April, unsurprisingly beaten only by Ontario, at 32.7 per cent year-over-year growth.

Resource-dependent provinces continued to post weak year-over-year figures in April, with Alberta (-28 per cent), Saskatchewan (-24.6 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (-14 per cent) and Manitoba (-7 per cent) all spending considerably less on new home construction than in the same month last year.

Nationwide, new home construction again increased more steadily, by 8.4 per cent year over year to a total of nearly $4.25 billion in April. However this equates to an uncharacteristically steep month-over-month rise of 10.4 per cent compared with March.

Reflecting the trends in BC, total Canadian condo construction investment saw the steepest growth in April, up nearly 21 per cent year over year to $1.53 billion across the country. Investment in townhomes and row homes rose 14.2 per cent compared with the previous April.

Single-family homes were the nation’s most popular new housing type, with detached construction investment across Canada totalling nearly $2.1 billion in April, although this was only a 2.1 per cent rise year over year.

Duplex construction in Canada again followed the pattern seen in BC, as April posted an annual drop of 14.7 per cent in investment in this housing type, totalling $194 million across the entire country.

To see Statistics Canada’s interactive chart, click here.  

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.