experts: real estate column Wednesday, February 09, 2000


CMHC reports 532 housing starts in January.

By Ozzie Jurock

CMHC reports 532 housing starts in January. This is some 18% lower than January 1998. Now here is where the 'lot quickens' (ah, well). Single starts are actually up 15% (343 starts), while multiple starts were down a whopping 47% (189 starts). That's what the headlines will say ... 47% down!

Actually the strength of the market in single family homes shows that builders are far more confident than last year. In fact, most areas other than downtown Vancouver are up.

Places like West Van, Port Moody, Coquitlam and Richmond are all higher (including multiple starts) and Surrey is a LOT higher - up from 74 starts to 156 starts. Vancouver 's 58 starts versus 141 last year skew the numbers.

The weakness in multiple starts shows that THIS MONTH fewer buildings were approved.

Actually, an unusually high number of starts before Christmas bumped the last quarter numbers higher and thus…lower this month. CMHC explains: "The industry wanted to get a jump on the new millenium as inventories have tightened..." These numbers will come back in line, as currently some 10 new projects alone are planned for downtown Vancouver this year.

Single Family  1999  2000
Vancouver       158   178  +13%
Victoria         33    28  +18%
Abbotsford       27    24  +13%
Kelowna          32    30  +07%
Other Centres    73    56  +30%
These markets all report slower multiple starts, much higher single family home starts.

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