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UDI: Metro Van multi-family stock hits historic low

Supply of new, move-in-ready townhome and condo units is remarkably scarce, especially within Vancouver city limits
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Availability of new, unsold multi-family homes in Vancouver has “fallen off a cliff,’ according to a new report analysing 2017 first quarter housing market statistics.

The Urban Development Institute’s State of the Market 2017 Research Report, released May 29, found only 16 townhomes and 15 condos throughout the entire Metro Vancouver region were completed and move-in ready by the end of March 2017.

None of the 16 new townhomes available for purchases are within Vancouver city limits. Seven units are located in the Inner Metro region, and nine in the Outer Metro region. Standing inventory is down 93 per cent since Q1 2015.

Concrete condominiums reached a record low in standing inventory, with only 11 units available throughout Metro Vancouver in the first quarter. As is the case with townhome inventory, none of these units are located in Vancouver proper.

“What’s causing the supply shortage is the restrictive single family home neighborhood zoning on 85 per cent of our residential land base, available to a select few high income earners who can buy there," said Anne McMullin, UDI president and CEO. “That keeps out young families, middle income earners and renters, who can’t afford single family homes.”

UDI defines “standing inventory” as units for sale where construction is complete and does not account for pre-construction, in-construction or pre-sale units.

Inner Metro encompasses West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, South Delta, Coquitlam, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam. Langley, North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge make up the Outer Metro region.

Total housing starts increased seven percent from last quarter. There were 3,597 condo starts in the first quarter of 2017, up 24 per cent from last quarter and 11 per cent year-over-year. However, UDI believes housing starts do not accurately measure supply, because 80 per cent of these are pre-sold before construction is completed to meet bank financing requirements.

“While housing starts to population ratio has improved in this quarter, a cumulative supply deficit over many years persists,” UDI observes.