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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Mr Saretsky,
    Have you recently analyzed the demographics of the Asia Pacific region in relation to Vancouver Canada’s real estate? The 30,000 ft view seems to be the overwhelming of Canada by the china juggernaut searching for safety and weak targets. Perhaps showing the demographic migration into Canada of Chinese personal and business interests that are changing the Canada landscape would shine a light onto the Canada macro. I expect Western Canada to be a wholly integral outpost to mainland China and other Asian countries as an on-board location to the North American continent. Our laws and policing have been exposed as a weak link allowing an “isle of man” atmosphere to permeate the entire Canadian economy. The question is, how will it end up 5 – 10 – 40 years from now? I have an expectation and wish list. But, I also have hedged to guard for a Canadian fail similar to Greece and other EU countries. I am looking for confirmation of my theories. What do you see?

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