Construction can't match demand for housing in Nanaimo: industry insiders

By Ian Holmes
May 25, 2017 - 12:36pm Updated: May 25, 2017 - 3:13pm

This Linyard Rd. home in the Linley Valley subdivision is one of dozens under construction in the area.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

Steve Talboys takes a break as he works on his latest project in Linley ValleyIan Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Local construction crews can't swing hammers fast enough to keep pace with surging development around the mid-island.

Between 2014 and 2017, Nanaimo averaged 105 building permits for single-family homes in the first four months of the year, according to City Hall data supplied to NanaimoNewsNOW.

In comparison, an average of 76 single-family construction permits were handed out in Nanaimo during the same period between 2010 and 2013.

“We get phone calls every week with people looking for property and then it's a case of do we have the manpower to do it,” past president of the Canadian Homebuilders Association of Vancouver Island Byron Gallant said.

Gallant, a Nanaimo-based contractor, said continued strong demand for land to build new homes on has created delays.

“We are scheduling some portions of projects three or four months ahead of time, some builders I have been speaking to are scheduling projects into next year.”

He noted some people who have planned to renovate or build a new home for two years are realizing construction crews typically need to be hired four or five months in advance.

Demand for residential lots in Nanaimo's rural areas is also up. The Regional District of Nanaimo reported 43 single-family housing starts on the mid-island outside of Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach in the first three months of the year, compared to 29 over the same period last year.

Working in the fast-growing Linley Valley subdivision Thursday morning, independent excavator Steve Talboys told NanaimoNewsNOW there is no shortage of work.

“Last year was crazy, this year seems it's going to be crazier,” Talboys said.

“I'd rather be busy than not, but you tend to slip backwards,” he said. “The challenge is to keep all of your customers happy.”

Proponents with the Foothills housing development in Lantzville reported 60 of 71 single-family lots were snatched off the market on day one of sales nearly a month ago.

Despite the continued spike in new home construction, the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reported recently critically low inventory is driving housing prices up to record levels.

The average sale price of a Nanaimo area single-family home in March was a record-high $502,696, 15 per cent higher than March of last year.


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