Surrey's fourth-highest building year in 2011
Surrey has once again pierced the billion-dollar mark in building permits in 2011, showing a drop in residential construction from the year prior but a significant jump in institutional developments.
City figures show Surrey issued $1.216 billion worth of development permits in 2011, just above last year's building tally, making it the fourth-highest year for development in Surrey's history.
Of that development, there was $657 million in residential development – a drop of $148 million, or 18 per cent from the year prior.
The biggest hit came to single family residential, which was down $200 million, but the loss was made up in part by gains in duplexes, which were up $80 million. (Part of the duplex growth is because homes with suites now require "two family dwelling" permits).
Commercial developments worth $266 million arrived in this city last year – up $19 million, or seven per cent over 2010. Industrial developments also nudged up $10 million (six per cent).
The big growth for Surrey came in institutional development, which soared by $115 million, up 130 per cent. Most of that growth came by way of the new RCMP headquarters being built in Green Timbers Urban Forest and the expansion to Surrey Memorial Hospital at 96 Avenue and King George Boulevard.
Jean LaMontagne, Surrey's general manager of planning and fevelopment, said there was a late push in 2011 bringing in the high numbers.
"Throughout the year we were a little bit behind, but we ended up at par," LaMontagne said.
Commercial and industrial development bring in about three times the taxes as residential development, so they are seen as a healthier source of growth. At the same time, they draw on far fewer resources, such as libraries, community centres, garbage hauling and parks.
A staff report presented to council in 2001 – when housing stock represented 72 per cent of the total amount of taxes generated – indicated Surrey was not meeting sustainable levels.
“A ratio of 60 per cent residential and 40 per cent industrial and commercial is considered to be the minimum level necessary relative to the long-term health of the city,” the staff report said.
Burnaby draws 50 per cent from industry and commerce, Richmond 49 per cent and Vancouver 56 per cent. On the flip side, White Rock brings in only 10 per cent of its taxes from commerce and industry.
Currently, about 69 per cent of property tax in Surrey is generated by residential development, while the remainder comes from the commercial and industrial developments.
Delta was up marginally, ringing up $156 million in building permit values, $10 more than last year, for an increase of nine per cent.
The Corporation of Delta also saw a drop in single and double family residential, with $63.7 million over the year, a drop of eight per cent, or $6 million, over the year prior.
That was offset by a huge jump in multiple family residential which shot ahead by $38 million, or 140 per cent, to $65.4 million.
That climb is largely attributed to the ongoing Sunstone development in North Delta and the Tsawwassen Springs development in Tsawwassen.
In addition to that, commercial development was up 1.6 per cent to $9.7 million, while industrial building fell 9.6 per cent to $7.4 million.
There were also drops developments in agriculture, down $700,000 (down 13 per cent), institutional, which dropped $15.6 million (off 87 per cent) and miscellaneous, which was off $500,000 (down 16 per cent).