Vancouver ranked most expensive city to build in nationally, 14th in the world

Vancouver's construction sector is now seeing the highest costs across the country, begging the question, "why?"

Credit: Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash

Costs are expected to rise 5 percent next year, adding to a whopping average construction price of US$2,720 per square metre

Those building in the Lower Mainland, like those living in it, are feeling the squeeze.  Vancouver is Canada’s most expensive city in which to build and the 14th priciest in the world, according to U.K.-based professional services firm Turner & Townsend’s latest International Construction Market Survey, which looks at costs, economic trends and market challenges for the global construction industry,

While Vancouver took the cake for highest construction costs, the three other Canadian cities surveyed—Toronto, Edmonton and Ottawa—were still deemed “hot” markets by the report. Cost inflation is expected to rise by 2 to 5 percent in all four cities, with Vancouver seeing the biggest increase.

The biggest contributor to rising building costs in Vancouver? The survey points to a tight supply of skilled labourers, which has caused average wages to spike to US$49.40 an hour. Also, high demand from domestic and foreign real estate buyers has added a level of stress to the city’s construction sector.

Costs can only go up from here, according to Turner & Townsend. When you factor in the recently announced $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat and the need for new homes thanks to in-migration, the province’s building industry will probably remain in high gear, the firm argues.