Cities to the east of the Lower Mainland are easing the growing pressure for commercial and residential demand in Metro Vancouver
The latest residential data underlines the strength of the economy of the far east of the Lower Mainland as Abbotsford and Mission report 1,777 new homes under construction in March.
Abbotsford reported record-breaking building permits in 2017, representing a 92 per cent increase over the previous year to a total value of $480 million.
Mission tallied $52 million in 2017 permits, up from $43.5 million a year earlier.
“Abbotsford Mission will post a real GDP gain of 2.5 per cent in 2018, led by strong gains in industrial production, as well as solid domestic demand, as it continues to attract families living in the Vancouver region who are seeking out more affordable housing,” the Conference Board of Canada stated in its recent Metropolitan Outlook 2018 report.
The region’s goods-producing sector will lead the way over the next two years, thanks to growing business opportunities, a lower Canadian dollar and a solid U.S. economy, the report noted.
Manufacturing activity is expected to remain healthy, especially in the key wood products industry.
“The outlook for the construction sector is also bright, with housing starts and non-residential investment both poised to be strong,” said Alan Arcand, associate director with the centre for municipal studies at the Conference Board of Canada.
While many think of Abbotsford as an agriculture community, aviation and aerospace is the No. 1 sector driving the city’s economy. The Industry Training Authority predicts the sector will need 4,000 new staff in the next five years alone. Abbotsford International Airport, the fourth busiest airport in B.C. and No. 20 in Canada, handles 114,528 aircraft movements per year and more than 677,000 passengers.
Abbotsford is also, of course, the agriculture capital of Canada, with gross farm receipts three times those of Ontario’s Niagara region, which is Canada’s second most productive agricultural area.
“A growing and diverse community, Abbotsford is affordable, conveniently located with access to vital transportation networks, and boasts a skilled and educated labour force,” said Mayor Henry Braun.
The availability of relatively affordable land and a welcoming approach to investment have made Abbotsford a darling of the real estate development community.
Last year, Abbotsford was named “Most Business Friendly Municipality” under the NAIOP Awards for Municipal Excellence, The award is given annually by NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association. The award was in recognition of the city’s increase in building permit issuances from 2015 to 2017, as evidence of it attracting businesses, encouraging the growth of existing businesses and promoting industrial development.