JENNA HAUCK/ THE PROGRESS Construction crews work on the roof of a multi-family residence on Spadina Avenue on Wednesday.

Chilliwack bucks the trend with hike in 2017 housing starts

Vancouver’s housing market has obviously had a ripple effect in Chilliwack

While B.C. and the rest of Canada are seeing only moderate housing starts, Chilliwack housing starts have been on the rise.

Chilliwack’s projected housing starts for 2017, according to City of Chilliwack’s second quarter report, will number 800. It was the same last year.

“It’s no secret Vancouver has become one of the most expensive housing markets in the world. This has had significant implications on what’s happening in Chilliwack,” according to the staff report from the planning department.

It’s clearly had a ripple effect.

It also partially explains the rise in the city’s housing market and construction levels.

“People are moving to Chilliwack for more affordable housing and larger living space,” reads the report.

Real estate sales peaked in 2016 as they did across B.C., followed by a moderating trend in 2017, “which is expected to continue,” states the report.

“On the other hand, 2016 saw an 18 per cent increase in sale prices from 2015 levels, and prices continue to rise in 2017 and are expected to rise into 2018.”

The 2016 and 2017 housing start numbers appear high, around the 800 mark; but Chilliwack has witnessed higher housing starts in 2007 with 1,395 units, and further back in 1994 with 1,266 units.

Single-family housing accounts for about half of projected housing starts in Chilliwack, at the 400 unit mark for 2017, and the single-family home numbers are expected to remain steady over the next decade.

“This means the increase in housing units over the next four years will be in multi‐family residential, common for peak periods, with a leap in townhouse units and much higher numbers for apartment units compared to now.”

The next peak in the number of Chilliwack housing starts is projected for 2021, and 2017 marks the start of that spike, with an increase expected each year for the next four years or so. Similar peaks were recorded in 2007 and 1994.

On the population front, Chilliwack will continue to see steady growth. The city’s current population is 90,000, up 23,000 from 2000, and is projected to grow above 40,000 over the next 25 years.

The steady growth in Chilliwack reflects the healthy economic landscape in which B.C. continues to remain strong despite slowing from 2016 levels.

“The driving forces behind B.C.’s strong economy are consumer demand, population inflows, a strong housing construction cycle and an increase in goods and service exports due to a low Canadian dollar.”

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JENNA HAUCK/ THE PROGRESS Construction crews work on the roof of a multi-family residence on Spadina Avenue on Wednesday.

JENNA HAUCK/ THE PROGRESS Construction crews work on the roof of a multi-family residence on Spadina Avenue on Wednesday.

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