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October 28, 2017 12:08 am

Construction Off To A Slow Start

Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 4:30 AM
 250News file photo

Permits were issued for just four new homes in the first month of 2016         250News file photo

Prince George, BC –  The new year did not start off with a bang in terms of construction in the city…

The dollar value of building permits issued for the first month of 2016 was $2.01-million dollars, almost five times below last January’s total of $9.71-million dollars.

There were 13 building permits issued last month – with four new single family homes and a private horse riding arena are responsible for the lion’s share of the permit values, at $1.19-million and $550-thousand dollars, respectively.

In comparison, there were 34 permits issued in January of 2015 – 16 for new single family homes, nine permits for commercial alterations totalling $2.7-million dollars, and one for alterations to a multi-family dwelling valuled at $2.5-million dollars.

There were no development permits issued last month.



Once the Feds drop their first budget and our taxes go through the roof no one is going to be able to afford house payments.

    So you’re predicting a housing/banking collapse in March . About what time will it begin ? And what’s your prediction for the end of this housing/banking collapse ? Do you think this will affect the payouts on bank prefereds ? Are you talking micro or macro collapse or both ? Will it reach right into CMHC ?

    You can thank the Harperettes for it if it comes true.

Plywood would do, not K3 Board. I must have been the last who used good strong Plywood in building a House! Cornflakes ,Tar Paper Standard !

    I agree especially with the price of plywood being what it is these days.

Why not go with ship lap . That would be even cheaper than plywood .

And the city needs a new playhouse?

Ataloss:-“Why not go with ship lap . That would be even cheaper than plywood .”

Unless it’s a wide board the cost of labor to nail it to the studs would be too high. And if it were a wide board it wouldn’t be cheaper than plywood.

    It would be a great deal cheaper for me . I don’t buy boards , beams or posts , I make them .

      I’m sure you do

      And she has a wind powered portable mill and her chainsaw runs off home brewed ethanol.

      I sure do and I’m not a she . It gets even better , I own my own timber supply .

      I have been looking at electric power heads . They are improving yearly .

    Speaking of electricity . The village of colville lake NWT just replaced their aging diesel generator with solar , batteries and an energy efficient diesel generator . The article is posted at castanet .

It will be interesting to see if the Federal government attempts to induce (further) inflation first, and then raises taxes to supposedly contain it, (which they never do), or raises taxes first and then induces inflation and then raises taxes further. Either way we’re screwed. When are we going to finally smarten up and recognise there’s a terrific difference between just getting a wage increase, and getting an actual increase in the purchasing power of everything those wages have to pay for? Never? Well, then, we’ll deserve exactly what we’re going to get.

Plywood or shiplap is 1000 times better than o.s.b./K3 what ever.
Not sure if the newer wraps (like tywrap-tyvek?) has any performance advantages over tar paper, anyone?

    I agree, Metalman. Shiplap used to be widely used for sheathing, and when installed diagonally, makes the house virtually indestructible. An earthquake could shake it off its foundation and it wouldn’t collapse. Labor costs now make using it at all, let alone installing it that way, generally too prohibitive for most people.

    Many modern high speed sawmills don’t even bother cutting 1″ lumber anymore, let alone running them into shiplap. And if they did, not many would be recovering any boards wider than 6″. Smaller sawmills that still do make shiplap usually regard it as a specialty item ~ often it’s used for purposes other than sheathing, or sub-floors, etc. The traditional things it used to be used for.

    Tyvek and the other modern house wraps are good products if the house is constructed when the weather is dry. When it’s being built at a time of year there’s lots of rain, (a good part of the year on the Coast), it tends to seal the moisture in. And usually the studs and OSB sheathing rot, which usually becomes noticeable just about the time the New Home Warranty period is over. I prefer tarpaper, myself, if its on a house in a climate with a lot of moisture. It lets the structure breathe.

    Tyvek breathes a lot better. Prevents dry rot and let’s the condensation evaporate from the warm/cold cycle better

      The glue in exterior grade plywood is a vapour as well. That and wood expansion is why seating should be spaced by a few mm.

      Vapour barrier!!! :-)

With declining population statistics being discussed in the last months, I ask again, who exactly needs these houses? There is clearly no influx of new families who need housing in this city, in particular at the price ranges for new construction.

We might benefit from construction for lower income rental housing and seniors who are also in a modest income situation, but more palaces on the hillsides just do not really make a lot of sense to me.

    So far the amount of housing construction has been slightly above the normal for a maintenance mode – that accounts for loss in housing due to demolition, fires, etc.

    We also have had an influx of students over the past 20+ years since UNBC came to town. They are typically not in a count of city population. There are several houses within less than 5 minute walk from our place which are inhabited by young people who have left their family home here or elsewhere and are renting a house together. The number of cars parked as well as the change in that number from winter to summer is a simple indictor.

    The average number of people per dwelling unit is an indicator of those types of changes. Those census figures have been dropping steadily for the last 15 to 20 years.

    Remember, we used to build over 1,000 housing units a year in the 1970s. It went down steadily until about 1981, when it started to hit rock bottom. The same has been happening in Kamloops and Kelowna. The number in Victoria is below 2/dwelling unit.

    More housing on the hillside is not exactly infill. The City is merely perpetuating the sprawl which is causing the high cost of service maintenance.

    Older subdivisions had multi-family dwelling units associated with them. I see none of that here. So we are building even lower densities.

    I hear many of the houses have secondary suites. Perhaps that is what the City is taking into density account. I do not see it as quite the same. It means more cars and poorer access to public transportation.

    Multi-family units are typically built closer to collector roads which have or will have public transportation capacity close by.

    We need infill housing to the east of Central right through to the Fraser River. Until that is promoted and happens, this City is not serious about infill and our taxes for City services will remain disproportionately high. This is why we cannot afford to build and maintain any more amenities for recreation, entertainment, conventions, etc.

      We actually are zoned for some multi unit housing in University Heights now. I don’t know when that build us going to start, but they have the space cleared for it. Although apparently they decided to clear space for all sorts of things without a really decent plan.

      Anyways I’m here in a “palace”. It’s smaller than all the homes we looked at in the older neighbourhoods, so I’m not really sure why we have the reputation for having massive homes. There were some very places being built here 30 years ago. We don’t have a suite. Most of the neighbours do. I won’t presume to know their finances, but we certainly aren’t in any danger.

      I really don’t understand the negativity towards this neighbourhood. To me it makes sense to have housing near a university. We already have transit access by default because of that. Even if you tailored it right down to busy routes, we’d still be included. There are definitely students here that don’t have cars.

    Thousands have left PG due to its inadequate housing stock in the rental market, as well as the lower working income market. Sure there are cheep places to rent in PG, but its almost all slum lord style rentals.

    The places that have population growth also have decent rental stock housing. Those that don’t get relocation expenses covered for a new job, often rent before buying when moving to a new market. Anyone that arrives in PG or plans to move here is likely to get discouraged from the move once they find out what kind of rental market PG has.

    I am not aware of any quality rental properties built in PG in the last 20 years. Its all been for the high end purchase market.

    Maybe PG needs to enable more housing co-ops for affordable housing… maybe even make some of the city properties available for non profit housing co-ops to induce new developers to the city. Currently the developers that do work in this city just don’t have any interest in this type of housing that is required for an expanding city.

These reports continue to be useless. They are one month comparisons to last year for the same month. Of course things will fluctuate.

How about looking at the spec builder stats for construction permits over a year to date time and comparing that to the unsold inventory for the same buildings which were built?

In other words, a prudent spec builder would have that information and make informed decisions about how many more houses to build or switch over to do some renovations, if they are set up for that, or small commercial construction if they have the knowledge of how to bid construction in a competitive environment. If not, then use the network of friends, acquaintances, business groups, etc.

If there is no cash flow, then the business will not last very long.

This is a pet peeve of mine, expressing a smaller amount as a multiplication of a larger amount: as in five times below in the story. Times refers to multiplication. Expressed in the way I was taught at school, oh so many years ago, it is more accurately described as being about 1/5th or about 20%. I know I’m whistling in the wind but that always irritates me.

Since the end of World War Two, the new home mortgage has been the preferred vehicle for introducing necessary new financial credit into the North American economy. There is now more debt held that way overall than there is business debt or even government debt. This has raised home ownership levels to heights unprecedented in human history, (prior to the recession in 2008). One of the downsides to this is that as we begin to run out of qualified buyers, we haven’t ever made any serious moves to find a replacement means of injecting this needed credit. Not without continually raising consumer product prices. Which only results in there being a need for even more credit. And so on. Hardly a sustainable scenario, long term.

    CMHC will be the bankruptcy of the federal government. With over a billion in debt guaranteed and a massive housing bubble….

    CMHC is about insuring the banks and not the homeowners. Its about banks collecting interest on the mortgages without having any real risk, and then foreclosing at a loss at the first sign of trouble. CMHC picks up the difference in whats owing when the bank decides to foreclose.

    So of course we have a massive mortgage bubble in Canada. The banks have no risk in building it up.

      Banks, Eagle, are traditionally short term lenders. They would never have gotten into financing home mortgages had there not been agencies like CMHC to reduce the risk. Indeed, mortgages were still risky for them even after CMHC came along. In the 1950’s and ’60’s mortgages were not generally subject to renewal on a fairly short term basis. A 20 year mortgage, say, at a 3 or 4% p.a. interest rate, (my parent’s mortgage was in that category in the early 1950’s), was good for that full 20 years at that rate. So long as inflation remained relatively low that held. But when rising inflation cut into their profits greatly after the mid-1960’s, the interest returns wouldn’t keep up with the rise in banking costs on those kinds of mortgages. So we got into the renewals every few years, and a progressively higher rate of interest being charged on the longer length of time between renewals. Banking profits, actually, despite the obscene amounts of money they are reported in, are also falling as a percentage of their overall business income. One of the reasons you’re now charged for holding an account with most of them, and a plethora of other fees for services that used to be provided without charge.

Japan, Europe, and the USA are sitting on $7.3 Trillion dollars in CASH.
Japan 2.4 Europe 1.1 and USA 3.8.

Canadian corporations are sitting on approx. 630 Billion, in CASH

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as corporations are in fact sitting on a lot more than that mentioned above.

Sooooo, Whats with that???

While they are sitting on these huge piles of money, they are putting the squeeze on workers, to increase production, reduce wages and benefits, and basically take a big hit.

One would think that they would invest this money to get the economy going. Wouldn’t they.??

    They WOULD invest it, Palopu, IF there was a greater certainty of an adequate return. But how can there be that if each time there’s an investment in a great many, if not most, of our productive industries it leads to more labor displacement, while at the same time most incomes of those who would consume the products of these industries are still tied to having a job?

    Corporate profits in terms of the dollar amounts they’re reported in may in many instances be rising. But those same profits taken as a percentage of sales are actually falling.

    The big get bigger, not necessarily as a matter of corporate greed, but far more likely as a means of corporate survival. And then they still go under. Look at BC’s forest industry as just one example of what happens. Where are the giants of a few short decades ago? MacMillan Bloedel, Crown Zellerbach, BC Forest Products, Rayonier, Tahsis Co., Northwood, etc. ? And their successors, Fletcher Challenge, Weyerhaeuser Canada, et al? Look further afield. General Motors, once the world’s most successful and largest company? Bankrupt, bailed out by governments and now a pale shadow of what it once was. And the list of similar instances is prodigious.

      Another factor in why so many Firms are sitting on so much cash is also the necessity of maintaining a much larger base of working capital as they become progressively more automated and technologically advanced. A lot of this automation becomes obsolescent relatively quickly, and has to be constantly upgraded to remain competitive. This ‘delay’ in distributing the cash they’ve taken in as incomes to worker/consumers causes a widening overall ‘gap’ between the rates that costs flow through into prices and that at which incomes are distributed capable of fully liquidating those costs. This ‘gap’ is increasingly bridged by debt ~ bank credit ~ which increases exponentially, becomes periodically unsustainable, and when it does we are in the inevitable ‘bust’ that follows the supposed ‘boom’.

      You write: “This ‘delay’ in distributing the cash they’ve taken in as incomes”

      There is your mistake. It is not a net income to be distributed other than to maintain and upgrade equipment. The problem with that, of course, come with equipment which is bought out of the community, out of the province and out of the country and sometimes even maintained by specialists flown in from other countries.

      So not only is what you call income no more than gross income from which very little can be considered net income but if it is for equipment which is manufactures elsewhere we do not get the benefit of that perpetual improvement cycle which is growing shorter and shorter and becoming more and more expensive.

    If one adds the population to that info, then the last figure is the amount of $/person that corporations have nested away in so-called cash.

    Or is it nested away in bonds or other papers which are really used to fund other ventures? I doubt it is sitting as paper money doing nothing.

    japan : $2,400,000,000,000 : 127,300,000 : $18,853
    can : $600,000,000,000 : 33,910,000 : $17,694
    usa : $3,800,000,000,000 : 313,232,000 : $12,132
    europe : $1,100,000,000,000 : 503,000,000 : $2,187

The solution that we’re all looking for, the one that continually eludes every government that comes into office, is to find a way of augmenting consumer incomes WITHOUT that ‘money’ being costed into prices. We are ALL consumers. But as we go forward in time fewer and fewer of us are producers. In fact if you looked at the number of absolutely superfluous jobs there are in the economy, the number of people we could actually do quite well, maybe even better, without, in terms of their employment, the figure would likely be astounding. Presumably, they are employed for reasons other than some vital economic necessity in any productive sense. Perhaps they need to feel ‘wanted’, or something. Which is fine, if that’s what society deems best in some moral sense, or whatever. Regardless, even if we had 100% full employment in our modern, capital intensive industries, the full amount of all the wages and salaries paid out over any given period would still NEVER equal the full amount of all business costs that have to be recovered in prices in that SAME time period. And this would be true even if we completely eliminated all business profits. If we could, which would pose some enormous difficulties of another nature, (namely knowing what anyone really wanted produced, mainly, since profit is the feedback mechanism by which consumers give their preferences to producers on what should be made). There needs to be a mechanism to credit consumers with ongoing CAPITAL APPRECIATION, which is inevitably greater than the charges for ongoing Capital DEPRECIATION we currently bear as a component of prices. Without such a mechanism, we’re going to continually have an economy that’s increasingly unaffordable for more and more people, and one that underperforms what it is physically capable of delivering to us all.

    You continually write about it, but never tell us who has discovered your utopia.

To me it is simple.

1. You want quality, you need to work at it.

2. You want to produce more with less person power, you need to work at it.

3. You want to discover more things. You need to work at it.

4. You want pineapples in a place which does not grow them, you need to work at it.

5. You want to maintain the places you work in, live in, travel thought to be maintained, you need to work at it.

On the other hand, if you don’t give a chit about any of those, you do not need to work at it … just bang up some boards ripped from another place and build your own … grow potatoes and turnips and wild apple trees and build a root cellar …..

You get the idea?

The things we have today do not just come at a push of a button. Too many people do not understand how things work.

You want to learn how to live more frugally? Move to the Maritimes, especially PEI and see how things can be kept simple, nice, clean, etc. on much less than around here. In fact, in many cases, far better.

I think too many around here want their cake and eat it too. Then again, who wants a cake just to look at it. LOL

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