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Housing Starts, Sales to Moderate – CMHC

CMHC’s latest Housing Outlook report for Victoria forecasts a moderation of housing starts and sales due to tighter credit (stress tests, rising interest rates) and slower migration from other provinces. The report also says there is significant supply already under construction or already approved, especially in the apartment category, which will boost vacancy rates over the 1% mark. Increased supply will also slow price growth in the condo market. Single-detached housing has already “trended back” which will also moderate price growth. The report forecasts 3,400 to 3,800 now housing units in 2018; 2,700 to 3,100 in 2019; and 2,690 to 3,210 in 2020. Victoria rarely posts 3,000 new homes in a year, so the numbers still represent much higher than average starts for the region. In our view, the biggest risks are the BC and local governments out of sync with the moderating activity. If they continue imposing regulations and taxes that undermine the industry the result could be a serious economic slowdown and unemployment.

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