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I cover a lot of the Lower Mainland in my travels, often putting more than 100 kilometers per day on my vehicle. I can testify that there is a lot of building going on, regardless of where you go. In some areas there is opposition to it (Lynn Vally, in North Van, or in Marpole, for example), but in most areas you just see the projects going ahead.

Some of the development is multi-family replacing single family or older multi-family stuff. Some of it is new single-family housing with basements suites and/or laneway housing. The result is the same reinforcement of the theme we’ve been witnessing for several years: more, but smaller units that create both increased density and maintain affordability. By “affordability” I mean housing that people can pay for, not housing whose cost meets some subjective metric of affordability based on income.

More units equals more supply. More supply is downward pressure on both sales prices and rental prices (and downward pressure on rents is a force multiplier for downward pressure on sales prices – the cheaper it is to rent the easier it is to answer the old question: should I rent or own?)

Housing starts are stable. In other words, the trend we’ve been watching will continue. In October Marketwired reported “Housing starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending at 19,473 units in September compared to 19,419 in August according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)1 of housing starts”.

I’m interested in giving those numbers a different sort of meaning. I’m going to post the new projects I come across and do a running total of units added. The number will obviously be unscientific and anecdotal, but I think it will be interesting, and the posts will show what is being built and where. I will keep a running total near the top right hand side of the page, and add to it from time to time. Feel free to send me any information you have about new projects that you see. please include location, number of units, and pictures, at a minimum.

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