Prince George saw a 32 per cent drop in new housing starts in 2022, compared to 2021, according to a report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C.

There were 451 new housing starts in Prince George last year, compared with 665 in 2021. Throughout the Cariboo region, housing starts were down 25.3 per cent – with 600 total housing starts in 2022, compared to a record 803 in 2021.

“Despite the number of housing starts falling last year, that’s from a record set in (2021) and the 600 units started were well above historical trends,” said Corey Naphtali of KPMG Canada. “The situation varied across the region, with declines in Quesnel and Prince George while Williams Lake saw strong growth.”

The 600 new housing starts in the region were above the annual average of 463 between 2016 and 2020.

The region saw a 29.1 per cent drop in new attached units such as townhouses and apartments, and a 17.5 per cent decline in new starts of single-detached homes.

“The decrease in housing was largest in attached units, such as condos, townhomes, and apartments. This is in part explained by the strong demand for detached units for much of the last two years,” Napthali said. “Outside housing activity, the region’s economy continued to benefit from a significant amount of major project investment, particularly related to resource and infrastructure developments.”

The total value of major capital projects in the Cariboo was estimated at $16.7 billion in the third quarter of 2022, down $33 million from the third quarter of 2021. Of those projects, 28 per cent were under construction.

At the time, there were 24 major projects worth an estimated $11.9 billion proposed in the region, including the $600 million University Hospital of Northern B.C. acute care tower, the report said.

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