CMHC reports housing starts in Greater Victoria from January to July are 14% higher than the same time last year. Starts are 2,185 year to date vs 1,913 last year. Although July single family starts (97) have increased relative to July last year (84), the year-to-date starts are lower at 521 vs 556. Multi-family continues to drive housing at 81% of total starts. This is not a surprise as land costs continue to rise and few municipalities have adopted small lot zoning to accommodate single family homes.
For example, according to BC Assessment Authority, an older Saanich home on a 13,000 sq ft lot is valued at about $800,000 of which $700,000 is the lot and $100,000 is the 60 year old house. Homes in James Bay were constructed on 2,000 sq ft lots more than 100 years sgo, yet most CRD municipalities struggle with creating these small lots today. In addition, municipalites have increased fees and created Urban Containment Zones (not in the ALR) beyond which housing may not expand. These and other govt actions have created the supply shortage and therefore spiraling costs.
The exception is Langford which continues to lead at 911 starts or 41% of the region’s total. They have the most progessive zoning and approval processes.