Building Links has recently compiled the building permit and construction values for the Comox Valley and Campbell River areas for the third quarter of 2017. Building Links notes a trend in the increase in the construction of secondary suites and carriage homes.

They reported an overall increase of 238 per cent. Building Links tracks this information when a separate building permit has been taken out for a secondary suite or carriage home. In many municipalities including Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland, specific zoning allows for the construction of a secondary suite in a single-family home without applying for a separate permit. Based on this information they estimate that the increase is actually more like 400 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016.

This means, according to the building permits reported, that there have been approximately 100 secondary suites and or carriage homes built in the past year, compared with approximately 25 built in 2016.

Due to the rising cost of individual lots, the cost of construction and the looming shortage of sub trades, more buyers are looking to subsidize the high cost of a new home by building a secondary suite or a carriage home. According to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) report for September of 2017, the cost of purchasing a home in the Comox Valley and the Campbell River area has increased by 22 per cent over the same time period last year.

There is a shortage of lots in both the Campbell River and the Comox Valley areas, and this is contributing to the extremely high cost of buying a new home. Many new subdivisions are being proposed in both areas, but it is taking, in some cases, years to get the subdivision approved by the various municipalities.

According to the same report by VIREB in September, strong economic fundamentals are underpinning housing activity in British Columbia, particularly in the southern half of the province. The BC economy has expanded at above-trend growth for more than three years, with 2017 expected to be the fourth consecutive year of economic growth hitting three per cent or higher.

The secret is out about Vancouver Island – its beautiful scenery, the welcoming communities and up to now, the reasonable cost of buying a home. The real estate scene is changing dramatically and quickly and more people are choosing Vancouver Island as their destination to retire or relocate. In my view, the price of real estate will continue to go up due to the demand to live in a piece of paradise, known as Vancouver Island.

Clarice Coty is the editor of Building Links.
Contact: clarice@buildinglinks.ca or
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