CPABC: Economic uncertainty saw investment fall in Thompson-Okanagan in 2020, but major projects underway will help recovery

February 19, 2021 1:00 PM EST

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KELOWNA, British Columbia, Feb. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to BC Check-Up: Invest, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on investment trends across the province, the number of housing units that began construction in the Thompson-Okanagan declined by 13.3 in 2020 compared to the number started in 2019.

“The COVID-19 pandemic added considerable economic uncertainty in 2020 and disrupted normal migration and investment patterns. As a result, housing starts fell in the Thompson-Okanagan. However, the region recovered from the low experienced in the first quarter of 2020 and fared better than the province overall where starts were down by nearly a fifth,” said Karen Christiansen, FCPA, FCA, partner at MNP LLP in Kelowna. 

The Thompson-Okanagan saw a total of 3,259 housing units begin construction in 2020, down from the 3,758 started in 2019. The region saw both detached homes and smaller units slowdown at roughly the same rate. The number of attached units, such as condos, apartments, and townhomes that were started in 2020 fell by 13.3 per cent compared to 2019, while detached units fell by 13.2 per cent.

“Even though housing starts faltered in 2020, it should be put in the context of the very strong years in residential development experienced in both 2018 and 2019,” continued Christensen. “As the regional and provincial economy continue to recover in 2021, the situation is expected to improve. Housing starts should also be buoyed by major project activity and strong real estate demand in the region.”

The total estimated capital cost of all major projects in Thompson-Okanagan – defined as projects with a cost of over $15,000,000 – stood at $19.4 billion in Q3 2020, down 5.0 per cent compared to Q3 2019. Despite the decline, the region continues to boast a large number of major projects actively under construction, with 55 projects underway with an estimated capital cost of $13.0 billion.

“The large number of projects that are currently under construction brings economic stability to the Thompson-Okanagan. As a result, our region’s economy was more resilient through the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other regions other across the province. The ongoing major project activity should continue to help in 2021 and onward,” continued Christiansen. “There are several major proposed projects that, when started, will bring billions more economic activity to the region.”

There are 39 projects currently in the proposal stage, totaling $4.4 billion in forecasted capital cost. In addition, nine proposed projects worth a total of $689 million are expected to come online in late 2020 or 2021, including the RW Bruhn Bridge Replacement ($225 million) and the recently started Highway 1 expansion ($260 million).

“It appears the worst of the economic damage is behind us, and both active and new major project investment should speed up our recovery,” noted Christiansen. “Going forward, we should actively attract sustainable investment that can stimulate economic activity as we continue our path to economic recovery.”

To learn more, see www.bccheckup.com.

About CPA British ColumbiaThe Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 37,000 CPA members and 5,000 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

For more information:
Vivian Tse, Manager, Communications
604.488.2647
news@bccpa.ca

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Source: Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia


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