October 2019 – Making Waves

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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Page 18 of 71

OCTOBER 2019 BCBUSINESS 19 G O F I G U R E N o matter how old you are, the incredible real estate boom that inflated home prices across B.C. has made housing unaf- fordable. But few people feel this pressure more acutely than the millennial genera- tion, whose growing desire for mobility and freedom includes opting to rent instead of pur- chase and saddle themselves with a mortgage. Many are veering away from the traditional path of their parents, most of whom chose to buy a home in the sub- urbs and settle down for the long haul. It appears that devel- opers are taking notice, or at least being nudged by market forces to shift their business model in sluggish conditions. With activity at presales centres much quieter, some new condo projects are getting delayed or turned into purpose-built rentals. As a result, rental construc- tion is thriving throughout the province, especially in Metro Vancouver. In June, the region had 4,226 rental units underway, according to Canada Mortgage and Hous- ing Corp., just shy of record highs set earlier this year. The pipeline looks plentiful, given that rental housing starts are also well above historical averages. This is encouraging news after rents have out- stripped wage growth over the past few years, growing by double digits annually in many B.C. cities. However, there are signs that the rental market is finally stabilizing. Property manage- ment companies are reporting more vacancies and, in some cases, lower rents for single- family homes. Some of these properties have been forced onto the market by the pro- vincial government's specula- tion and vacancy tax, which requires homes to be occupied for at least six months a year to avoid stiff penalties. Also, home purchases remain weak, British Columbia Real Estate Association num- bers show. January through July, sales fell 14.4 percent year-over-year, while the aver- age price dipped by 5.3 percent year-to-date, to $687,413. For developers who want to push forward while mitigating risk, building rentals looks increas- ingly favourable, despite recent rent controls that may reduce future profits. After years of neglect, renters are finally getting some attention. Developers must be equally relieved. • Rent Control A resurgent rental market spells relief for British Columbians seeking shelter—and for beleaguered developers by Steve Saretsky P R OP E R T Y WAT C H A New Lease on Life Rental units under construction in Metro Vancouver $2.5 billion Estimated spending by Telus on digital medical records systems in Canada since 2009 SOURCES: CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORP., STE VE SARE TSK Y Telus's Babylon mobile phone app, launched last spring, has made B.C. 1ST IN CANADA Since its launch last October, 300 physicians in 80 communities have signed on to CODI, a first-of- its-kind, B.C.-developed app that connects rural doctors to intensive-care specialists for 24/7 live help with acute or complex cases to directly link patients with doctors for billable virtual visits A 2017 Ipsos survey asked Canadians if they'd consent to being implanted with a health- tracking microchip: 41% Millennials 27% Gen-Xers 32% Baby boomers SOURCES: VANCOUVER SUN, CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSO- CIATION JOURNAL, MODELS AND ACCESS ATL AS OF PRIMARY CARE, IPSOS, CANADA HE ALTH INFOWAY, CANADA'S DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY SUPERCLUSTER, ALLIED MARKE T RESE ARCH, GLOBE AND MAIL, CODI, RESE ARCH CO., RESE ARCH2GUIDANCE 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 JAN-90 DEC-90 NOV-91 OCT-92 SEP T-93 AUG-9 4 JUL-95 JUN-96 MAY-97 A PR-98 MAR-99 FEB- 00 JAN- 01 DEC- 01 NOV- 02 OCT- 0 3 SEP- 0 4 AUG- 05 JUL- 06 JUN- 07 MAY- 08 A PR- 09 MAR-10 FEB-11 JAN-12 DEC-12 NOV-13 OCT-14 SEP-15 AUG-16 JUL-17 JUN-18 MAY-19

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