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Games impact on housing small but lasting

CMHC study predicts 117 per cent growth in Sea to Sky corridor by 2031



By Clare Ogilvie

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games will have a positive economic impact on the Sea to Sky corridor.

But it will not be a transformative event on its own. That’s the finding of a recent Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation research study.

It found that the population of the Sea to Sky corridor would be 11 per cent higher than if the Games did not come to the region and projected that by 2031 there would be a total of 75,000 residents — that’s an increase of 117 per cent over 2001.

That would result in a housing occupancy demand for 18,700 units, increasing housing stock from 13,000 occupied units in 2001 to 31,700 by 2031.

Between 2001 and 2031 there would be a demand for 10,700 additional single detached units, 5,400 attached ground oriented units and 22,600 apartment units under the Games scenario. The impact of the Games would mean 19 per cent more occupied units added within the Sea to Sky corridor over the projection period than there would be under a no-Games scenario.

The study also said the corridor will experience a housing turnover in the ownership segment of the market that would be 10.8 per cent greater for ground-oriented units and 9.8 per cent greater for apartments. Housing turnover in the rental segment of the market would be 10.9 per cent greater for ground-oriented units and 10.3 per cent greater for apartments.

CMHC commissioned The Urban Futures Institute and CitySpaces Consulting Ltd. to study the potential impact of the Olympics on the demand for housing from 2006 until the event and beyond.

“When we thought about doing this project the drive behind it was really that we were unable to find literature out there that looked at the impact of a mega event on housing… and it happens at every major big event,” said CMHC regional economist Carol Frketich.

“So just the fact that this study took a closer look at this issue and was able to quantify some results in terms of what it would mean in terms of attracting migration, housing demand, the type of housing demand, whether it was rental versus home ownership, and apartments versus single detached is important.”

As part of the study researchers looked at the experiences of other Olympic Games host cities, B.C.’s housing market, and economic growth including estimates for Olympic related spending, which the CMHC pegged at $4.9 billion.

The study projected that the southwest region, which includes Greater Vancouver and the Sea to Sky corridor, will draw 94,000 more people looking for work than it would have if the Games weren’t coming here.