Quarterly Development Activity Report: April 2014

The City of Vancouver continues to see consistent local construction activity, particularly in the multi-family and single-family residential sectors.

The following charts provide a look at recent trends in land use applications (e.g. site plans for apartments, commercial, or industrial projects), building permits, and the valuation of the projects for which building permits have been applied.
 

Current Trends

  • Multi-family development continues to stay strong with apartment development projects occurring all over the City. While the number of multi-family units that were approved for construction dropped off during the last three quarters of 2013 from a peak of over 300 units in the first quarter of 2013, a second wave of multi-family projects is making its way through the land use and building permit process. As a result, we saw a significant increase in the number of new units (more than 200) in the first quarter of 2014.
  • On the commercial side, building owners and tenants are continuing to invest in making improvements to existing buildings instead of constructing new ones, a trend which has continued from the start of the downturn.
  • Another trend we are following is a recent increase in preliminary and final land division applications, which result in new subdivisions for residential housing. Interestingly, this increase happens to coincide with a recent decrease in the number of new residential permits, which might suggest that the existing supply of available and buildable residential lots is shrinking, so new lots are being created.
     

Land Use Activity chart, 2012 to 2014 (year to date) by Quarter (Indicator Cases only). This chart shows several selected types of land use applications which best represent key development trends. Pre-application conferences with staff are required for larger commercial, industrial or multi-family projects and, while not an application per se, they are an indicator of likely future land use applications. Preliminary and final land division applications subdivide property and are an indicator of future single family residential activity. Preliminary and final site plans are indicators of future new commercial, multi-family, and industrial building activity.  The above chart shows a couple of trends. For both pre-applications and site plans applications, there appears to be a steady increase for the past 2-3 quarters which is a positive sign that commercial building permit activity will increase in the coming months. A second notable trend is that both preliminary and final land division applications are on the increase for two quarters, which is likely an indication that the existing supply of buildable lots is shrinking, therefore new lots are being created to keep up with a growing demand for single family housing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This chart shows several selected types of land use applications which best represent key development trends. Pre-application conferences with staff are required for larger commercial, industrial or multi-family projects and, while not an application per se, they are an indicator of likely future land use applications. Preliminary and final land division applications subdivide property and are an indicator of future single family residential activity. Preliminary and final site plans are indicators of future new commercial, multi-family, and industrial building activity.

The above chart shows a couple of trends. For both pre-applications and site plans applications, there appears to be a steady increase for the past 2-3 quarters which is a positive sign that commercial building permit activity will increase in the coming months. A second notable trend is that both preliminary and final land division applications are on the increase for two quarters, which is likely an indication that the existing supply of buildable lots is shrinking, therefore new lots are being created to keep up with a growing demand for single family housing. 
 


Chart showing Building Permits Issued from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2014. This chart shows building permits issued from January 2012 to April 2014 and reflects ongoing slow permit activity for new commercial and industrial buildings, but sustained, higher activity in tenant improvements to commercial property. Clearly, for now, building owners are choosing to invest in existing buildings rather than constructing new ones.  We saw a steady decline in the number of multi-family units that were permitted in the 2nd through 4th quarters of 2013, but during that time we continued to see multi-family projects submitted for land use approvals. As those projects receive their land use approvals, we are now seeing an uptick in multi-family permit activity and construction, which should be sustained for the next few quarters.  New single family residential permits have decreased slightly to just below 50 new residence permits issued per quarter, which may be a reflection of a dwindling supply of available buildable lots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This chart shows building permits issued from January 2012 to April 2014 and reflects ongoing slow permit activity for new commercial and industrial buildings, but sustained, higher activity in tenant improvements to commercial property. Clearly, for now, building owners are choosing to invest in existing buildings rather than constructing new ones.

We saw a steady decline in the number of multi-family units that were permitted in the 2nd through 4th quarters of 2013, but during that time we continued to see multi-family projects submitted for land use approvals. As those projects receive their land use approvals, we are now seeing an uptick in multi-family permit activity and construction, which should be sustained for the next few quarters.

New single family residential permits have decreased slightly to just below 50 new residence permits issued per quarter, which may be a reflection of a dwindling supply of available buildable lots.
 


Building Permit Valuations 2012 to 2014 Year-to-Date, by  Quarter. This table shows the valuation of development projects for which a building permit has been issued, from beginning of 2012 to April of 2014.  The increase in multi-family permit valuations in the first two quarters of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 coincides with the substantial increase in number of units for which permits were issued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This table shows the valuation of development projects for which a building permit has been issued, from beginning of 2012 to April of 2014.

The increase in multi-family permit valuations in the first two quarters of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 coincides with the substantial increase in number of units for which permits were issued.