Just a few days ago I wrote a piece noting that Vancouver housing starts hit a record high in 2019. Per CMHC, there was a whopping 28,141 new housing starts across Metro Vancouver, surpassing the previous record set in 2016. In fact, housing starts could’ve been much higher had it not been for single family housing starts, which fell to a seven year low.

Vancouver single family housing starts
Metro Vancouver single family housing starts by year.

To be honest, i’m surprised they haven’t fallen further. The single family market has been hit hard, taking the brunt of the recent market decline. Single family house sales have plunged to multi-decade lows over the past couple of years. Here’s a chart of annual house sales across Greater Vancouver & the Fraser Valley.

single family house sales
single family house sales by year for Greater Vancouver & Fraser Valley combined.

Are we witnessing the death of the single family house in Metro Vancouver? Despite the decline in house prices, falling as much as 30-40% in some segments, the median house price still sits at $1,154,500. With affordability remaining stretched, it’s hard to envision where the next wave of buyers will come from. Instead, it seems more likely single family housing starts will remain lackluster.

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