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Courtenay saw few housing builds last year, says city report

City of Courtenay report shows the 2023 year was slow for building housing in town
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Courtenay saw a low last year in its stream of building housing.

A report to Courtenay council released on Friday said the city saw 180 net new residential units constructed last year. The number was less than half completed each previous year going back to 2019.

“Application numbers had been declining slowly then sharply dropped in 2022 as interest rates began climbing,” reads the City of Courtenay report. “Low 2022 permit application numbers, especially for multi-residential, may reflect market uncertainty at that time or in the preceding period.”

The City of Courtenay report shows that staff received an unusually low number of applications to build units leading up to the 2023 year. Whether it was interest rates, or something else that deterred developers, the report said, by the time 2023 rolled around there was an unusually low number of applications for the city to push across the line.

It led to the slowest year since 2018.

After the hump in Courtenay’s housing builds came a surge of applications. The city says a higher-than-average number of builds are expected for the 2024 year.

The surge in applications “likely reflected increased sales prices and rents” that makes developers more interested in building housing in Courtenay, according to the city report.

The City of Courtenay now has a high number of permits it can approve going forward into 2024 and 2025, as it received applications to build roughly 740 units.

The most recent Census data shows that the population of Courtenay grew at about 556 people per year (from 2016 to 2021). If that trend is true of 2024, Courtenay would see a close balance between the number of residential units being built and the growth in residents.

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