Housing starts

Construction levels remained steady in August in the Vancouver region thanks largely to new multi-family units in the suburbs.

Surrey's strong year continues while rental construction pushes Kelowna close to record month for new homes

Vancouver builders kept up a brisk pace in August as housing starts stayed above historical averages last month, according to the latest report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

However, much of the activity remains outside the downtown core, with multi-family units rising in more-affordable parts of the region.

Southeast Vancouver led the way with 383 starts in August, followed closely by Surrey with 337 starts. For the year, Southeast Vancouver has seen a 12 per cent increase in new home construction, and Surrey is up 60 per cent.

Meanwhile, higher-density neighbourhoods including Downtown Vancouver, English Bay and the West End reported no new homes under construction. Central Park/Metrotown reported just 15 new homes in August. So far this year, housing starts have plunged 99 per cent Downtown and 93 per cent in Central Park/Metrotown.

Roughly one quarter of the 1,781 new homes under way in the region are single-family, while multi-family housing accounts for just over half. The balance are townhouses.

A rental housing boom made August Kelowna’s second-busiest month for new construction since 2010. The city has been on a tear so far this year, with 1,377 rental units under way, while the number of new homes overall has doubled, to 2,224.

In Victoria, starts were fairly flat, with just 183 new homes under way, a number typical for August in the provincial capital.