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.
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 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 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.