Tiny Terrace sees housing boom
March 1, 2019
Terrace, a B.C. town of 12,000 residents situated 1,300 kilometres northwest of Vancouver, is bucking a downturn in the province’s housing starts.
“We are in the midst of a housing boom,” said Danielle Myles of Terrace’s economic development office. The boom was triggered by the October 2018 announcement that a $43-billion liquified natural gas (LNG) export plant and pipeline project has been approved for the deep-water seaport at Kitimat—about a half-hour drive west from Terrace
The LNG Canada project is the biggest private-sector infrastructure development in Canada’s history, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. LNG Canada is an international consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell.
Terrace, which covers more than 72 square kilometres, has the land for new housing needed for construction workers and LNG Canada staff, along with the industrial land required for staging and service for the LNG project, Myles explained.
In 2018 Terrace total construction values soared 22 per cent above the 10-year average to $30 million—including 27 new homes. But housing starts really took off after the LNG announcement.
“For January 2019 our permit values are 40 per cent higher for the month than our 10-year average,” Myles said. She had just returned from taking photos of some of the trade trucks jammed into a subdivision where new houses are being finished. In all, at least eight residential projects—most planned for detached houses or townhouses—are proposed or underway in Terrace along with two new apartment buildings plus social housing.
According to provincial government estimates, housing starts in B.C. are expected to fall 25 per cent province-wide this year due to a range of government policies that include higher taxation and tougher mortgage requirements.