Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Capella: The Towers on Victoria's Hills

[No mention here of Western Forest Products profiteering on this Bear
Mountain subdivision. Talk about biased news reporting!- Karen Wonders]

A huge custom-made crane from Spain works on the $1.4-billion luxury
Capella development on Bear Mountain in Langford.
Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

Housing starts holding up for the year
Monthly figures dropped slightly during August
Carla Wilson, Times Colonist
September 10, 2008

Vancouver Island housing starts dropped in August from July but
year-to-date numbers are running close to the first eight months of last

Nationally, new home construction moved up last month, to 211,000 starts
from 186,500 in July, on a seasonally adjusted basis, Canada Mortgage
and Housing Corp. said yesterday.

However, uncertainty is hovering around the capital region's once-hot
local housing market now that sales are slowing and the number of homes
for sale is at its highest level in a dozen years.

Even so, the median and average price for a single-family home in
Greater Victoria topped $500,000 last month.

On Vancouver Island, the 345 starts in August came in lower than 400 in
July. Last month is considerably higher than August of last year, when
262 homes were started.

April had the highest number of starts on Vancouver Island so far this
year with 588, said CMHC senior market analyst Travis Archibald.

He warns against drawing conclusions from monthly numbers, saying "The
year-to-date [figures] are the key."

Nanaimo took the lead on Vancouver Island with the most starts last
month, at 141, thanks to condo construction.

Victoria followed with 114 starts, then the Courtenay area with 46,
Duncan at 35, and Parksville-Qualicum with nine.

Langford, where much of the capital region's residential development is
taking place, led the way among Greater Victoria municipalities with 38
starts in August.

Of those, 30 are condominium units. Sooke followed with 20 starts, then
Saanich with 12.

A custom-made crane from Spain, with a large motor and the latest in
electronics, recently arrived at the Quigg Group's $1.4-billion luxury
Capella development at Bear Mountain in Langford. The Jaso 300 is one of
two in North America, and the only one in Western Canada, developer
Robert Quigg said from Vancouver.

Normally the company leases crane but it ordered this one to help build
four planned towers on Quigg's 20-acre site. The first is due to be
completed in June or July of 2010.

By the time the fourth tower is completed, "It will have been jacked to
an approximate height of 560 feet," he said.

Quigg remains bullish on the real estate market, suggesting that fewer
starts now may lead to an undersupply of homes in a couple of years.
Fundamentals are positive in Canada, with low interest rates and a
strong western economy, he said.

"I firmly believe than the shift we are seeing and the desire for
ownership in the market that we are pursuing is much more about a
demographic shift than an economic shift."

About 60 per cent of the Capella units have sold, including the $3.25
million sub-penthouse, Quigg said. About one-third of buyers are from
Victoria and the south Island, one-third from Alberta and Saskatchewan,
and the rest from Eastern Canada and some from Europe.

"There's no lessening of demand." People seeking homes are still in the
market, whether they buy now or next year, he said.

Nationally, August exceeded analysts' expectations of between 191,000
and 195,000 starts.

"After a brief pause in July, the volatile multiple segment bounced back
to a level of activity that is more consistent with our forecast for
this year," said Bob Dugan, CMHC chief economist. "Most of the
volatility in housing starts over the last three months reflected swings
in multiple starts in Ontario."

Led by Ontario, multiple starts jumped 25.2 per cent in the month to
114,700 starts, while construction on single-family homes rose by two
per cent to 71,200.

All other provinces experienced a decline in housing activity.

"On balance, this does not necessarily mean that housing activity
remains healthy. It should be taken for what it is -- a snapback from a
previously large decline," said Charmaine Buskas, senior economics
strategist at TD Securities.

"The Canadian housing market does have some headwinds that will bring
down activity in the next couple of quarters, which suggests a softer
trend in the housing market and a smaller contribution to growth."

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

No comments: