B.C. housing starts are forecast to decline seven per cent to 33,900 units in this year and a further four per cent to 33,000 units in 2008. Contributing factors to the decline include capacity constraints in the homebuilding industry and the civic strike, which has prevented permits from being issued, Muir said.
Turnover of existing housing will be down as well, from the 2005 high of 106,000 homes in the province, to about 101,000 for 2007.
It almost seems that there are two separate markets going on in the province, the out of control, lower mainland region and Vancouver Island, with high prices and high demand, and the rest of the province, which may actually fluctuate harder than the Vancouver market, due to the rising dollar, cost of lumber, reduced US tourism and holiday property investments, as well as a continually increasing base cost for housing and labor.
It will be interesting to see the sales stats for the areas outside of Vancouver over the next year, will there be a drop in demand, or will affordable housing continue out of the reach of most young families?
So, what about the Kootenays?
The Kootenay Real Estate Board is predicting a slowing of growth in the housing market, but expects demand for housing to remain high, due to the proximity to Alberta, which has an extremely strong economic position. The following table shows the average housing prices in the region, showing that the average is expected to increase a further 12% to $294,000 in 2008. Much of this drive is from lifestyle, retirement and investment buyers, which has forced many locals out of the market, a problem across the province, with housing sales forecast to dip 4% next year.
Development still appears pretty strong in this part of the Kootenays, with a couple of hundred residential lots planned for the next couple of years. If you want to escape the rat race, come live out here. If you’re a Structural Engineer, there’s even a job for you.
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