It’s easy to tell from the number of cranes and pylons scattered across Victoria that construction is booming. In fact, reports show the value of construction projects in the city continues to rise.
At the end of July, construction permits for residential, commercial, industrial and government projects were valued at $254 million, compared to July 2017 where the value sat at $165 million.
Jonathan Tinney, the City of Victoria’s director of sustainable development and community planning, said this major jump is mostly due to a few larger projects finally attaining their permits after years of rezoning applications and development approvals.
“Essentially it’s a decrease in the number of applications, but an increase in value,” he said. “We’re seeing a couple big projects coming online, things like the new Hudson development and the Customs House coming through.”
He explained that when an application is put in, the project’s start date won’t be for a couple years. Even after a building permit is issued, it usually takes another month before shovels hit the ground, he said.
While the application numbers are down, the housing unit counts are up thanks to larger projects creating many residential units, Tinney said. This was a key factor in data released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on Tuesday, which reported high construction numbers.
“As of the end of June this year, the City has a total of approximately 2,200 housing units under construction,” Tinney noted.
“Of those, just over a third are rental, affordable or seniors housing units that meet key policy priorities for the City.”
When asked how these additions might play into a slowing real estate market, Tinney said the City’s role is simply to approve developments based on purpose and location, and that it’s up to developers to decide when is the right time to bring a proposal forward.
In the meantime, while sales may have slowed, the construction market is still hot.
“We certainly feel it here in terms of staff and ability to keep things going,” Tinney said. “We’ve been successful in keeping things moving, but if residents feel like it’s getting busy out there, it’s because it is.”