CPABC: Kootenays housing starts jump to end 2020 while major capital investment activity falters

CRANBROOK, British Columbia, Feb. 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to BC Check-Up: Invest, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on investment trends across the province, the number of housing units that began construction in in Kootenay B.C. increased by 65.4 per cent in 2020 compared to the number started in 2019.

“In the Kootenays’ largest municipalities, the level of new housing units started to slow down in the first half of 2020 due to the economic uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Calder, CPA, CA, partner at BDO Canada. “However, the year ended strong with a large number of new units started in Q3 and Q4 2020. The significant increase was primarily driven by the number of attached units that began construction.”

For 2020 as a whole, 397 housing units began construction in Cranbrook and Nelson, up from the 240 units started in 2019. In the first half 2020, just 41 units began construction before increasing an additional 70 in Q3 and 286 in Q4 2020.

The number of attached units started, such as condos and townhomes, reached 294 in 2020, up from the 158 started in 2019 while the number of detached units that began construction also increased to 103 in 2020, up 25.6 per cent in 2019.

“The overall increase was due to strength in the latter half of 2020, in particular, the last quarter. In fact, the number of units that began construction in Q4 accounted for nearly three-quarters of the entire year’s housing starts,” noted Calder. “This is a promising sign that investors are feeling secure to invest in residential projects, such as those within the Wildstone Golf Course development. Going forward, the region will also benefit from capital invested in major projects, which should both boost our economic recovery and attract more housing developments.”

The forecasted capital cost of all major projects in Kootenay – defined as those with a cost of over $15,000,000 – stood at $7.6 billion in Q3 2020, down from $9.1 billion in Q2 2019. This was largely due to the official cancellation of the Glacier Resort project which had an estimated price tag of $1.0 billion.

The four largest projects underway in Q3 2020 accounted for $2.3 billion, including the recently initiated Inland Gas Upgrade with an estimated cost of $360 million. Several other major projects are also expected to begin construction between Q3 2020 and 2021.

“After a difficult year in 2020, the region’s economy has begun to recover and should continue to improve in 2021 as the global economy continues to rebound and shovels hit the ground on projects such as the Inland Gas Upgrade, Lake Ferry Service Upgrade, and Boundary Regional Hospital Ambulatory Care. Together, the three developments alone account for nearly $500 million of economic activity coming to the region, which are critical to accelerating our economic recovery” concluded Calder.

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The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 37,000 CPA members and 5,500 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.


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