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Housing starts picking up in Greater Victoria

The capital region tallied 604 starts in October, up from 337 in October 2021, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in its monthly report released Wednesday
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Construction underway at the corner of Cook and Johnson streets. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Greater Victoria’s housing starts ramped up slightly last month even as the national seasonally adjusted rate of new home building slowed by 11 per cent from September.

Analysts are closely watching housing starts at a time when the economy is in flux amid a higher cost of living and rising interest rates.

The capital region tallied 604 starts in October, up from 337 in October 2021, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in its monthly report released Wednesday.

That meant the total number of starts in Greater Victoria for the first 10 months of the year was 3,918, slightly above the 3,825 for the same time frame in 2021, the federal agency said.

In those 10 months this year, the Langford, Colwood, Sooke and View Royal grouping had the highest number of starts in the region at 1,576. Of those, 928 were apartment-style units and 383 were single-family.

Victoria posted the next-highest figure with a total of 1,462 starts. Of those 1,368 were for apartment-style homes and just 39 were single-family. The remainder are row and semi-detached homes.

Many of the multi-family buildings being built in the region are rental units being constructed to meet continuing demand in the tight rental market.

Rental listing site Zumper shows Victoria remains one of the most expensive rental markets in the country, placing third in a tie with Burnaby. Rents rose by one per cent last month, with a one-bedroom unit renting for an average of $2,100 per month, it said in a report this week.

Many people are priced out of single-family homes in a region where the benchmark price is more than $1 million, and turn to strata units, which are typically more affordable.

Of the 604 new units started in Greater Victoria last month, the West Shore accounted for 333. The majority of the total are apartment-style units.

Esquimalt saw 234 starts, all for apartment-style homes.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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