Despite a rocky 2020, for the Canadian property market and the wider economy as well, real estate sales are taking off in 2021.
Part of this is due to the pent-up demand that was put on hold for the previous year. Other factors at play include a general trend towards consumers rethinking what they want from their homes and living situations, resulting in a kind of market “shuffle”, and the historically low-interest rates making new real estate look more tempting than ever.
As an example, January 2021 saw the highest residential sales on record for regions like Revelstoke and South Peace River. Similarly, property prices in Golden BC have increased by 11%, above what would be considered a “normal” rise.
Rocky Mountain regions around and including Golden also showed considerable price and sales growth near the end of last year. But will all this continue? And what does it mean for building trends in and around Golden BC?
Despite the disruptions to listings and sales, construction continued at pace over the last year. As such, there is significant new home stock, and this is reflected in recent sales figures showing new homes performing strongly against resales.
These trends suggest that more construction and sales of new homes are likely to follow.
However, contrary to the overall trend in British Columbia, mountain communities in the Canadian Rockies don’t seem as prone to growth in multi-unit residential buildings. Many of the homes are large single-family homes, reflecting in part the trend towards permanent relocation from larger cities, and a more qualitative preference for the “mountain chalet” aesthetic that brings buyers to this region in the first place.
Also, some evidence suggests that new construction will only partially work to shore up the longer-term shortage of homes and property, and demand will continue to outpace supply. This would mark a consistency with longer-term trends, as almost 50% of the homes in the Golden BC region were built from the 1960s through the 1980s. Compared to that boom, current construction is relatively small scale.
All of this indicates that resales will rebound and dominate the market, and the drive towards new construction will dissipate.
How does all this compare to the commercial and industrial sectors? For a start, some very large near-term projects in British Columbia (including the site-C dam, and various pipeline initiatives) might put some pressure on skilled professions associated with construction and infrastructure, slowing the pace in other areas.
Also, for the past two years or so, growth in light-industrial construction has only been slight, and commercial or business construction has even shrunk slightly. Whether driven by oversupply or lack of demand, there are no strong indicators that suggest either one of these could change radically. As such, there is likely to be less industrial and commercial real estate growth in the Golden BC region.
In sum, expect to see some near-term growth in single-family home construction, possibly dropping off as homeowners hesitant to list their homes enter the market in the coming years.
Regarding the aesthetic trends in these new homes, buyers will likely see a move to larger floor plans with kitchens arranged and designed more as the artful centerpiece of the home, larger windows allowing for more unobstructed views of the surrounding valleys and mountains, and a move towards a more balance between “traditional” and “modern”.
In recent years the log-and-stone chalet aesthetic has given way to a more sleek modern look, but in the coming years, we’ll probably see a synthesis of these two, combining natural and local materials with modern design principles.