B.C. home development largest in nearly 20 years
April 13 2023
Portwood development by Edgar Development. | Rendering submitted
Vancouver-based Edgar Development has launched pre-sales and will begin construction in summer 2023 on the first master-planned residential community approved and moving forward in Port Moody, B.C., in nearly 20 years.
The project in the Metro Vancouver suburban community underlines the challenges and costs that home builders face as they attempt to deliver more housing into markets that need it most.
Despite all the government rhetoric about encouraging the supply of housing, 2022 housing starts across Metro Vancouver were down 1,800 units from a year earlier, according to Canada and Mortgage and Housing Corp.. And actual starts of 4,102 so far in 2023 are just two units higher from the same period a year ago.
Edgar Development is paying the City of Port Moody plenty to get permission to build the 2,400-home Portwood community. First, it gifted 70 per cent of the 23.7-acre site to the city for parks, trails and green space. Edgar is also paying $30 million for a new road, $2.8 million for public art works and donating 5.1 acres to BC Housing for 325 non-market rental units.
Port Moody is among the B.C. municipalities that need new housing.
Two other large, long-planned residential projects—including one 2,700-unit residential development by Wesgroup in planning for over a decade—have yet to launch in the city. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver data and current housing sales suggest there is only a two-month supply of housing and only a one-month supply of townhouses available for sale in Port Moody.
Vancouver developer Wade McAllister, principal with a major B.C. developer Ledingham McAllister, noted that assembling detached housing lots for higher density is becoming increasingly difficult due to delays and taxation.
McAllister explained that a developer who assembles 12 houses is charged provincial vacant home and speculation taxes on the empty homes while they wait years for municipal approvals to proceed. “We are talking millions of dollars in fees and taxes due to delays,” he said.
In Port Moody, developer Wesgroup has been trying to gain approval for a 2,700-unit residential development on a 14-acre site that was destinated for high-density housing 11 years ago. Still, not a single shovel is in the ground.