Townhouses becoming rare in Vancouver
January 16, 2020
Despite high buyer demand and a record-setting home construction pace, new townhouses are becoming rare in the city of Vancouver.
In all of 2019 only 39 new townhouse units were started in the city, compared with 4,917 new apartments and 1,419 detached houses. City of Vancouver total starts, at 6,522, were part of a record 28,141 new home starts across Metro Vancouver last year.
Existing Vancouver townhouses are selling quickly, hitting a 90 per cent sales-to-listing ratio in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver data.
The looming shortage of townhouses in Vancouver is due to the high cost of development lands and permit delays, developers say. It is more profitable to build higher-density condominium apartments.
Outside of Vancouver, 2,684 townhouses were started in Metro suburban markets in 2019.
Metro Vancouver’s hot residential construction pace is at odds with the national picture, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) data.
The national trend in housing starts was 212,160 units in December 2019, compared to 219,921 units in November 2019, CMHC reported.
“The national trend in housing starts decreased in December,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. “The declines are primarily led by lower-trending multi-family starts in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. However, the stronger starts at year-end in Vancouver and significant growth in Calgary helped to partially offset the declines in other major centres.”
The monthly seasonally adjusted housing starts for all areas in Canada was 197,329 units in December—down 3 per cent from 204,320 units in November. Urban starts declined 4 per cent in December to 185,934 units. Multiple urban starts decreased 5 per cent to 138,049 units in December while single-detached urban starts increased 1 per cent to 47,885 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11,395 units.