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2007 Construction/Development and the economy


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#21 m0nkyman

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 07:50 PM

The only problem with the more optimistic estimates for downtown population increase is that they don't seem to reflect the reality of what the market can support.

A: The baby boom is about to retire
B: The echo is just hitting the age where they are buying their first homes.

With that combo you are looking at what will be the greatest condo boom that North America has ever seen as the two largest generation ever hit the two ages where downtown condo living is the most attractive...

#22 G-Man

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 07:55 PM

Why are people so sure that we can support 5000 units housing projects but not 500 units of condos I just don't understand this.

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#23 captain highliner

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 08:24 PM

I agree that the long term prospects for more urban condo development are positive. It's the short to medium term that I'm worried about.

Because local land development is in essence the reterritorialization of international finance capital it competes with other global investment options on a basis of comparitive risk and short run return. Capital will not flow to developments that face significant short term challenges in achievement of a return on investment. If we find ourselves in a market that won't absorb new units at the price they can be profitably produced, then we won't see significant new investment, because there are better places for that money to flow.

So rather than seeing perpetual boom as a foregone conclusion, we need to adddress the political question of reducing the regulatory burden on development in order to maintain our region's attractiveness to international finance capital. At the same time, we must ensure that government encourages affordable housing alternatives by underwriting mortgages for co-ops and non-profit housing.

#24 Holden West

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 08:25 AM

Building permits jump 178 per cent
New starts soared to $113.7 million during October


Darron Kloster
The Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, December 07, 2006



CREDIT: Canadian Press
(Building Permits)

Greater Victoria developers showed a surprising burst of confidence in the economy in October by taking out $113.7 million in building permits -- a 178-per-cent increase from the $41 million issued the month before, according to data released yesterday by Statistics Canada.

New condominium starts throughout the region accounted for $40 million of the October total and single detached homes another $20 million. An assisted-living project in Saanich and institutional projects at the University of Victoria and Camosun College were worth another $50 million.

Despite a slowdown in the U.S. housing market and signs of slipping residential starts in Eastern and Central Canada, the country continues on a construction tear with more than $6 billion in permits issued during October -- the second highest on record and a six-per-cent rebound from September.

Most of the increases, however, were evident in Western Canada, with major metropolitan centres in B.C. and Alberta showing double-digit gains from last year.

Builders don't expect Victoria's sizzling construction pace to cool any time soon.

"We're turning down most tendered work -- we have been for six months -- and are dealing only with regular clients," says Bill Johnson, president of Victoria-based Farmer Construction, one of the province's largest general contractors.

"We're busier now than we've ever been -- and I've been with this company for 30 years and in the construction business for 35 years."

Almost all of the region's 13 municipalities are showing huge increases in building permits this year. Overall, the area has issued $621.2 million in permit value over the first 10 months of 2006, a 10 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Saanich had more than $220 million in permits issued after the first 10 months of the year -- already more than double the total for all of last year. Victoria was up about $10 million so far this year to $219.6 million. Langford -- with the massive Bear Mountain resort within its boundaries and condos rising in the core -- is on record ground with $132 million in permits to the end of November and more are coming in every day, said city spokesman Dan Reynolds.

Reynolds said Langford had $96 million in permits last year.

Saanich has accumulated more than half of its building permit value from the University of Victoria, which has spent $147.2 million on four new buildings on the campus. One is complete and the others have completion dates in 2008.

"It's extremely busy and we've been that way for the last six years ... it hasn't really changed," said Wayne Farey, operations manager for Campbell Construction.

The general contractor employs 180 and has five major condominium projects on the go, including the $27-million Chelsea and a six-storey Sayward Hill at Cordova Bay.

Farmer Construction employs between 150 and 200 journeyman, but has more than 1,000 workers including sub-trades on sites around the city on several high-profile projects, including the $400-million Dockside Green, the 15-storey Juliet on Blanshard, the $16-million Bicino condo project on Menzies and the Parkside Resort quarter-share project in the Humboldt Valley.

Farmer has also started the $1-billion Bayview project in the Songhees, just finishing the initial floor on the first of five towers.

The company also expects to start building the $23-million Pacific Sport facilities near Camosun's Interurban campus in March.

Johnson said although prices for commodities and construction supplies have settled, worker shortages persist.

That has led the company to turn away tendered work and stick with regular clients.

"We're trying to get workers from across the country, but it's busy in Alberta and even Ontario. We're having to train and develop our own people."
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#25 concorde

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 09:47 PM

The Bayview is worth $1 Billion, excuse me while I laugh!!!!!

So Farmer is "one of the province's largest general contractors". I am guessing their annual volume is around $100 million which wouldn't even put them in the top 10.

Bill Johnson must be taking lessons from Donald Trump.

#26 Holden West

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 10:39 PM

Bayview is one billion?

That must be a typo, unless...

let's see...

ah, yes, it says here there are 85 floors of underground parking, shopping residential, movie theatres and bowling alleys. That sounds about right.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#27 G-Man

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 11:07 PM

If they are including the entire build-out with the Railyards it may be 1 billion. A billion just doesn't buy you what it used to. Hell you can't even buy a halfway decent LRT line for that.

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#28 Mike K.

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 03:44 PM

They're probably referring to the current three towers and the upcoming roundhouse proposal.

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#29 Mike K.

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 11:20 AM

There’s no end in sight for city’s non-residential building boom
BY CARLAWILSON Times Colonist staff
Investments in schools, hospital buildings and warehouses all indicate that Victoria’s thriving non-residential construction sector is heading into another robust year.

Victoria’s fourth quarter in 2006 ended at $95 million in investment in non-residential building, down slightly from the third quarter at $96 million, but far ahead of 2005’s fourth quarter at $73 million, Statistics Canada said yesterday.

“I don’t think there is any slowing down until the (2010) Olympics ... that’s kind of a common thought around here,” said Wayne Pye, Construction Association of Victoria chairman.

Bill Johnson, Farmer Construction president and a director on the Construction Association board, said the past few years have been “as busy as we have ever been.”

Both Pye and Johnson reiterated an industry concern about the shortage of skilled workers. Future growth depends on being able to attract and retain skilled workers, Johnson said.

At this time, Farmer is not pursuing competitive bids on projects, but instead taking on jobs with past clients.

Throughout Greater Victoria, virtually all contractors have a lot of work, Johnson said. In addition to a multiphase, multi-year projects such as Dockside Green and Bayview, Farmer is also lined up for the $23-million Pacific Sports Institute where construction is expected to start in March.

The slight dip in Victoria’s non-residential construction value from the third to fourth quarter of this year is not significant, he said. Developments coming up this year include the $250-million project to replace the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s nursing towers, plus more projects at the University of Victoria.

Victoria mirrors what has been happening around the West. Massive increases in non-residential construction in B.C. and Alberta last year helped push investment in this sector to its sixth record year in a row. The two provinces represented more than 80 per cent of the total increase in non-residential investment last year, Statistics Canada said.

Last year, commercial, industrial and institutional projects added up to more than $35 billion in investment, up 10.8 per cent from 2005. When inflation is factored in, the increase was 3.1 per cent.

Spending rose in all three categories. Commercial went up by 12.3 per cent from 2005 to $20.2 billion. Industrial investment moved up 9.5 per cent to $5.7 billion, and institutional increased by 8.4 per cent to $9.2 billion. Fueling these increases were factors such as low vacancy rates for office and commercial buildings, plus a shortage of industrial space in many areas.

B.C. was up 25.9 per cent to $4.9 billion last year from the previous year. Alberta rose more, by 37.8 per cent to $6.7 billion. Records were set in each province.

Nationally, fourth-quarter investment reached $9 billion, an increase by 1.8 per cent from the third quarter and the 15th consecutive quarterly increase.

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#30 aastra

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 12:55 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Victoria's non-residential construction still well below the level of other cities its size? I seem to recall seeing numbers that showed Victoria's non-res construction was more on par with cities half as big (like Saskatoon).

#31 Mike K.

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 12:58 PM

Yup, very much so. Last year Halifax had somewhere in the vicinity of $300 million, I believe, meanwhile Victoria poked around at $100.

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#32 G-Man

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 01:26 PM

Is Victoria the CRD or Victoria proper. (since we are comparing it to Halifax)

Because Ecole Brodeur, the work at VGH, the new wing at the hospital at Hillside and all the work at UVic would bring this number way up above 100 million.

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#33 Mike K.

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 02:26 PM

Oh wait a second...those are quarterly results. $95 million for the fourth quarter...

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#34 Mike K.

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:38 AM

Island housing starts soar 58 per cent
Strong B.C. economy and low unemployment keep builders busy


BY CARLAWILSON Times Colonist staff

Builders are busy putting up new homes in Victoria and other urban communities on Vancouver Island thanks to B.C.’s strong economy and low unemployment rates.

Last month, 354 new homes were started on the Island, up 58 per cent from February 2006.

Mild weather encouraged many builders across the country to start projects in January — there were 348 housing starts on the Island.

Condominium starts show the continuing growth in the Western Communities, where 42 condominiums are going up in Langford and 23 in Colwood, said Peggy Prill, Canada Mortgage and Housing senior market analyst. Other multifamily projects got underway in North Cowichan, Victoria and Parksville.

Inventories remain low, meaning there are few homes built which have not already found buyers.

Construction is booming in Greater Victoria, which now has more than 2,000 apartments — virtually all condominiums — under construction, the highest number in three decades.

“Strong demand, based on solid economic and employment indicators as well as low mortgage rates, means new-home building will continue its robust pace this spring,” Prill said yesterday.

Helmut Pastrick, chief economist for Credit Union Central of B.C., said that generally in B.C., including Victoria, housing sales have slowed somewhat. “That, over time, will play out in fewer housing starts as well.”

Factors influencing the Island market includes migration, mortgage and interest rates, the local economy, and income growth. “The underlying fundamentals still look very good,” Pastrick said from Vancouver.

The ability to buy a home is a challenge for many, with the price of an average Greater Victoria house in February at $534,101. A condo averaged $282,246.

Pastrick said, “I’m afraid the Lower Mainland [and] the Greater Victoria area will remain a high land-cost region for well into the foreseeable future.”

The Scotiabank Group said that the difference between a typical monthly mortgage payment on a new home and the average rent on a two-bedroom apartment is close to $800 nationally, the highest since the early 1990s. That difference — which affects affordability — rises even more in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, where the number surpasses $1,000.

Housing starts dropped provincially and nationally last month.

The total number of urban homes started last month in B.C. decreased to 28,100, at a seasonally adjusted rate, from 34,500 in January.

Canada’s seasonally adjusted annual rate (monthly figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels of housing starts) was 196,200 in February, down from 248,500 units in January. Bob Dugan, a senior economist at CMHC, said housing starts are likely to pick up again in the coming months, with total rates forecast to reach 209,500 units in 2007.

February saw 163,200 urban starts, down 24.3 per cent from January. Urban multiple dwellings fell 33 per cent to 82,800 units last month, while singles decreased 12.6 per cent to 80,400 units.

Urban starts dropped across all regions while urban multiple starts declined in all regions except in the Atlantic, where they rose 15.6 per cent. And urban single starts were down everywhere except British Columbia, where they remained unchanged from January.

Actual starts in both rural and urban areas were down an estimated 5.2 per cent in the first two months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006, while actual starts in urban areas only were down an estimated 6.7 per cent.

— With files from CNS

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#35 G-Man

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:51 AM

So much for the bust ;)

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#36 aastra

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 10:46 AM

Construction is booming in Greater Victoria, which now has more than 2,000 apartments — virtually all condominiums — under construction, the highest number in three decades.


So Victoria's current construction boom is now officially comparable to the boom of 30+ years ago?

Then again, 30+ years ago, Victoria's population was only about 200,000.

#37 Mike K.

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 01:41 PM

Odd. Our councillors and local reporters have been telling us the current boom is the biggest boom ever in the history of the City. What made them change their mind all of a sudden :roll:

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#38 Mike K.

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:36 AM

Real estate sales, prices soar
Home construction jumps too with no end in sight


By STEVE WEATHERBE
BUSINESS EXAMINER EDITOR
Mar 18 2007

After catching its breath over Christmas, the Vancouver Island real estate market is soaring again, especially south of the Malahat. New home construction is also climbing.

February data released by the Victoria and Vancouver Island Real Estate Boards show the number of units sold up substantially across virtually the whole island, while prices increased to a lesser degree.

In Victoria, the largest category of homes—single family homes—saw the number of units sold jump from 222 to 349, a hike of 57 percent; meanwhile the average price for single homes climbed from $511,192 to $534,101, a four-percent increase. Total sales in this category jumped from $113.5 million to $186.4 million, a sixty-four percent growth.

In the next most significant category, condominiums, there was an increase in units sold from 119 to 208 while prices fell off from $351,000 to $284,000.

VREB President Bev McIvor lauded the numbers as proof of continued confidence in the market and expressed confidence it would continue. She stressed that “ over 25 percent of single family homes sold for less than $400,000 and over 44 percent of the condominiums sold for less than $250,000.

Up-island, the average single family home sold for $297,000, a six percent increase from January and 14 percent jump from February 2006. Condominium sales followed the Victoria pattern, with the average price falling off by three percent to $183,000, while the number of units sold increased from 60 in January to 79 last month.

VIREB reported a slight sales decline in terms of units sold only in Alberni. But average prices there climbed by 54 percent over February of last year. In Campbell River the average sales price climbed by six percent over February 2006. Nanaimo’s average price was up 14 percent. Parksville and Qualicum beach’s prices climbed by 25 percent while Duncan’s was up 15 percent.

VIREB president Jennifer Lynch stressed the affordability of homes within VIREB’s reach. “With the average sale price in Victoria over $500,000, and Vancouver over $640,000, our area looks pretty good at just under $300,000,” she said.

Home starts across Vancouver Island were up 58 percent over February 2006, according to Peggy Prill of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: 354 homes were started last month. This was a slight increase from January.

Prill noted that more than 2,000 apartment units were under construction in Victoria last month—the biggest number in 30 years. She predicted that a strong economy, will sustain this “robust” pace. BE

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#39 Holden West

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:58 AM

Is it my imagination or are Victoria house prices catching up to Vancouver's? I may be mistaken but it seems to me 10-20 years ago prices here were nearly half what they were across the pond.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#40 Mike K.

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 09:49 AM

For a while in 05/06 our average was higher than Vancouver's.

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