Mary Ellen Johnson works on a new home under construction across from Royal Bay secondary school. The Colwood home is one of many across the West Shore and the entire southern Vancouver Island being built now with more homes and buildings following in their footsteps.

HOMEFINDER: The more the merrier, construction boom continues

2016 should see another increase in residential construction

The construction industry is booming on the Island and the West Shore.

Building permit values on the Island totalled $1.439 billion in 2015.

This is a seven per cent increase compared to 2014. Residential building permits aided in that boost, accounting for 19 per cent of that total increase.

The increase in residential construction confirms that Vancouver Island is continuing to attract newcomers in a growing economy, said Greg Baynton, chief executive officer of the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA).

He’s expecting a 10 to 15 per cent increase in building permits in 2016 due to anticipated gains in residential and non-residential construction.

“Activity and the underlying growth trends remain solid for the Island’s construction sector,” Baynton said in a release. “The association’s outlook for 2016 is very positive.”

When the Island is broken down into smaller regions, the Comox Valley Regional District saw a 20 per cent increase in building permit values in 2015.

It was followed by the Capital Regional District at 18 per cent and the Cowichan Valley at eight per cent. In the CRD’s gain, a 33 per cent jump in residential permits is credited as the main reason for the increase. However, commercial and industrial permits decreased and non-residential permits were down. This is credited to a drop in public permits.

With a 14 per cent increase in residential permits, the West Shore alone accounted for two per cent of that increase within the CRD. However, on the West Shore, non-residential permits declined by 27 per cent. According to statistics from the VICA, Langford, when compared to the previous year, led the way on the West Shore with a 47 per cent increase in residential permits – with a value of $130 million. Colwood saw residential permits decline by 14 per cent and View Royal had a 63 per cent decrease. Highlands had minimal increases in 2015, and Metchosin saw a 123 per cent increase to the tune of $4.2 million.

Total building permits issued on Vancouver Island slipped six per cent Vancouver Island in the fourth quarter of 2015 to $352.6 million from $376.2 million in the third quarter. Residential permits declined 14 per cent while non-residential permits increased by 31 per cent.

A look at some other regional districts on Vancouver Island showed that the Comox Valley Regional District permits were up in all categories, led by a 30 per cent surge in non-residential permits. Residential permits were up 13 per cent compared to the year before.

The Nanaimo Regional District had a two per cent increase in residential permits, there was an overall decline in 2015 due to a large decline in non-residential activity. Within non-residential permits, all three categories were lower due to a large drop in public permits.

Strathcona Regional District permits saw a decline in most sectors, resulting in a 26 per cent drop in 2015 to $42.9 million compared to $58 million in 2014.

It is anticipated that in the first quarter of 2016, residential permits will likely follow historical trends and increase due to the seasonal influence, bolstered by improving housing market conditions. Construction cost increases remain modest at 1.6 per cent year over year.

The first notable quarter to quarter increase occurred during the fourth quarter, although it is too early to conclude that a turning point is at hand. Construction costs are expected to increase at a modest pace into next year.

The VICA represents more than 500 construction-related businesses on Vancouver Island, serving the construction community since 1912.

It is dedicated to providing support and services crucial to contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and the purchasers of construction services through its offices in Victoria and Nanaimo.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

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