Both new housing starts and the completion of housing around Langley have increased in the last few months. (Langley Advance Times files)

Both new housing starts and the completion of housing around Langley have increased in the last few months. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley bucks regional trend, builds even more homes

Housing starts are down in B.C. but up in Langley

More homes are being built and more homes are finishing construction in Langley this spring compared to a year ago, according to data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Data gathered by the Crown corporation shows that in March of this year, 277 housing starts were recorded across Langley Township and City combined. That’s up from 248 in the same month last year.

So far this year, Langley has seen 759 housing starts, an increase over the 677 recorded last year.

In total, 3,761 homes were under construction in March.

Housing completions were also up sharply in Langley, with 350 housing units being finished, up from 132 in the same month last year. So far in 2022, 794 housing units have been completed in Langley, more than double the number seen at this point last year, when there were 371 completions.

Almost every category of housing is seeing increases in construction.

Among the 794 homes that have completed construction this year are 479 condo units, 226 townhouses, 79 single-detached homes, 10 semi-detached homes, which are usually duplexes or triplexes.

Except for semi-detached, there were more completions across all types.

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The Township is continuing to grow at a rate of 2.5 to 3 per cent per year, according to an anonymous statement provided by the Township of Langley, and isn’t expecting to slow down yet.

“This is anticipated to continue over the next few years, based on current applications in the process and work presently underway,” the statement said.

Langley’s growth is bucking a provincial trend.

Housing starts for the first three months of 2022 were down to 8,082 in B.C., from 11,889 at the same time last year.

Completions were higher across B.C., with 8,709 homes completed in the first three months of the year, up from 7,422 in the first three months of 2021.

Predictions for what will happen next when it comes to housing construction and house prices are all over the map.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) recently predicted that prices would rise nationwide this year by 14.3 per cent, with home sales slowing in most areas.

Realty firm Royal LePage’s house price survey noting that the average Canadian house price has increased at an annual rate of 25.1 per cent in the first three months of the year alone, with Greater Vancouver increasing at an annual rate of 18.4 per cent.

“While the supply of listings is beginning to increase, it is happening at a very slow pace. Meanwhile, demand has subsided slightly,” said Randy Ryalls, general manager of Royal LePage Sterling Realty.

“These market conditions are self-perpetuating,” Ryalls said. “Lack of supply causes hesitation in sellers who hold off listing their home until they can buy.”

Meanwhile, an analyst at Oxford Economics is predicting a correction starting this fall that could drop Canadian housing prices by 24 per cent by mid-2024.

The main reason for the correction is that housing is simply out of reach of more and more median-income Canadian households.

Other experts, including SFU professor of finance Andrey Pavlov, doubt there will be a correction.

“We have done absolutely nothing to alleviate the severe housing shortages we are experiencing in the Lower Mainland,” Pavlov told the Langley Advance Times. “It is not any easier to build new homes today than it was three or five years ago.”

Higher interest rates could partially dampen down appetite for new homes, but inflation and “artificial scarcity” will continue to support high prices, Pavlov said.

“We may even see small price cuts or other buyer incentives in the short run. But I can’t really see substantial price reductions given the severe housing supply shortage we have.”

He said in the event there is a major correction, it would be a serious blow to economic activity – and the Bank of Canada would respond by dropping interest rates again to avoid another recession.

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