A builder checks out some lumber at the construction site of the Knox Centre complex on Church Road. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Building permits don’t tell the whole story in Sooke

Building starts have slowed, but market is strong

Sooke remains an attractive housing option on the lower Island real estate market.

And, although there has been a slowdown in housing starts, Rory Kulmala of the Vancouver Island Construction Association maintains that interest in residential construction in Sooke remains strong.

One indicator of the strength of that market seems to indicate the contrary, however, as the number of building permits issued in Sooke for all of 2018 to date total only 166 permits issued.

When compared to 2017 when 226 permits were issued, marking what was reported then as being a 37 percent increase over the previous year, the building permit stats alone indicate a cooling of the market.

RELATED: Building starts

Asked about those numbers, Kulmala warned they need to be taken with a grain of salt.

“Building permit numbers alone don’t provide an accurate representation of the market,” he said.

“Our statistics show that, while there was a slight decline from August to September the numbers in a total of new housing starts are still up from a year ago.”

Kumala said the market may have gone “a little hot” for a while and that it is now moderating a bit, but that the overall numbers for housing on the lower Island are still very strong.

Certainly, a part of the attractiveness of the Sooke housing market is related to the fact that the community offers small town hospitality, stunning ocean views, a rich history and a wide array of recreational activities.

But a major selling feature of the community continues to be the price.

A recent report by the Canadian Real Estate Magazine lists the median house price for a four-bedroom home at less than $600,000.

According to the Victoria Real Estate Board, a comparable home in Victoria is now more than $900,000 and rising.

“I think there was a bit of pent-up demand in Sooke that affected the numbers in 2017, but the market here is still very strong, and a lot of that is related to price,” said Paul Clarkston of Clarkston Construction.

“One issue that might be slowing things down a little is the availability of land for construction. The [Capital Regional District] really doesn’t have strong rural development practices in this area and there is a real lack of available land west of Sooke that might be slowing things down.”

Kumala agreed that land is always an issue on the southern part of Vancouver Island and that it’s important for regulations and planning to take that into account when setting policies for development.

Mike Hicks, representing the CRD in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, floated the idea that the speculation tax brought into play by the provincial government may be playing a role in cooling the real estate market and may also have had an impact on housing starts.

RELATED: speculation tax

“I know that in some regions the mayors of various municipalities have complained about the tax, but it’s hard to say for certain that it has had an affect on housing starts,” said Hicks.

“I know that in Shirley and Otter Point, we’re still very busy (in housing construction). I’d say that there’s a comfortable growth that’s happening.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

Victoria in Canada’s top three cities for highest household debt

Rising interest rates could cause required payments to exceed budgets of highly indebted households

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

Facebook comment inspires donation of 2,000 lbs of oranges

Root Cellar gave fresh fruit to the Mustard Seed in Victoria

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Lower-than-expected parcel volumes helping cut into backlog, says Canada Post

The Crown corporation says that’s largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected

Vancouver Island fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

Blind Parksville man learns to trust new four-legged partner

Canadian National Institute for the Blind introduces first group of guide dogs

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

Most Read