Langford-based developer Malcolm Hall stands on a stairwell at The Waverly

Rental builders playing catchup on West Shore

More amenable rates allow developers to help Langford with long-term growth plan

What a difference 10 years makes in the up-and-down world of real estate and development.

When developer Malcolm Hall completed his Slipway rental apartment project in Langford in 2003, it was one of only two rental projects built in the city since 1999.

Fast-forward to the present and there’s a plethora of rental projects on the go or recently completed in Langford, including developments on Jacklin Road, Brock Avenue, Station Avenue and Goldstream Avenue as well as Wale Road in Colwood.

For comparison, Hall points out that Duncan, with a population of about 13,000, has roughly 1,200 rental units, while Langford, with a population of 34,000, currently has around 500 units. That shows there’s definitely room for the market to grow on the West Shore, said Hall, whose Langford projects have added 175 units in the past few years.

He estimates that another 300 to 400 units are in the works for Langford alone, a trend he attributes to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation-insured mortgage rates running at around 1.75 per cent now, compared to five per cent 10 years ago.

CMHC insurance protects banks if a developer forfeits on a loan. When developers purchase that insurance, banks offer a lower interest rate.

“I never thought it would drop to this level,” Hall said.

“It can take up to a year to go through the process to build, so you have to be careful because the market can change. We didn’t have any trouble filling the units, but I don’t think that will be the case when I anticipate that CMHC rates will go up again.”

Hall attributes the boom on the West Shore to several factors, such as retirees looking to simplify by selling their homes and renting, and young families and couples just starting out renting until they can afford to buy. As well, he said, “the condo market is saturated with units for sale.”

Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell, chair of the city’s planning and zoning committee, said once growth was predicted for the West Shore, Langford council made a strong commitment to create recreation, shopping and amenities, while attracting job-creating business and commercial enterprises that enable people to work where they live.

“We have worked to maintain a balance between job creation and the amount of housing we build,” she added.

Did you know?

• In 2003, the Capital Regional District’s Regional Growth Strategy identified Langford as a preferred area for growth.

• According to B.C. Statistics, the population of Langford increased from 30,430 in 2011 to 34,677 in 2014.

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