Canadian housing starts trend upwards in April

OTTAWA, May 8, 2017 — Housing starts are trending higher at 213,768 units in April 2017, compared to 210,702 units in March 2017, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

“New housing construction increased in Canada, with seasonally adjusted data exceeding 200,000 units for five months in a row”, said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “The increase in the trend was mainly due to apartment construction in British Columbia and Québec, which was partly offset by a decline in Ontario’s multiple starts.”

Monthly highlights

  • Apartment construction continues to drive the residential market in Halifax. April saw over 400 additional multiple starts breaking ground, bringing year-to-date multiples starts growth to 169% compared to last year. Demand is being driven in part by the ageing population as downsizing baby boomers are increasingly selling their homes and moving into rental units.
  • Even though the rate of housing starts in the Province of Québec was down in April, the total for the first four months was up by about 30% in the province’s urban centres. This result was mainly due to the significant construction of apartments, especially rental units, in the Montréal and Québec areas. As well, single-detached home starts have been strong so far in 2017, thanks in part to tightening resale market conditions.
  • Despite the slight decline registered in April, residential construction in the Gatineau area showed positive results for the first four months of the year. The gains were particularly strong in the rental segment, with construction getting under way on many seniors’ housing units. Overall, starts were supported by an increase in housing demand and a decrease in the number of unsold units on the new and existing home markets.
  • The trend in housing starts in Toronto remained stable in April, as slight increases in low-rise homes were offset by some declines in apartment starts. Overall, new home construction this year has been building momentum as both new single-detached and townhome starts trended higher to reach a nine-year high in April. Tight conditions in the resale market continue to cause demand to spill over into the new home market.
  • In London, April 2017 single-detached starts were much higher than in April 2016 and the ten year average for April. The gap between house prices in Toronto and London has widened significantly, making new single-detached homes in London that much more appealing to retirees from Toronto who wish to sell their home but not downsize.
  • In Winnipeg, a decrease in inventories in the new home market and balanced resale market conditions are allowing builders to increase production. Actual housing starts in April increased year-over-year for the fourth consecutive month, boosting year-to-date starts to their highest levels since 1987.
  • The trend measure for housing starts in the Kelowna CMA surged upwards again in April, due to an increase in both single-detached and multi-unit construction. In particular, a number of large apartment rental projects are now underway as builders continue to respond to the low vacancies that have characterized Kelowna’s rental market for the past two years.
  • Housing starts in Metro Vancouver trended higher for the first time in four months, led by multiple-family residential construction. Builders are responding to demand in the market as eight in ten townhouses and all apartments were sold at completion during the last two months.

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of Canada’s housing market. In some situations analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 214,098 units in April, down from 252,305 units in March. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 15.3 per cent in April to 199,485 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 16.7 per cent to 134,314 units in April and single-detached urban starts decreased by 12.1 per cent, to 65,171 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,613 units.

Preliminary Housing Starts data is also available in English and French through our website and through CMHC’s Housing Market Information Portal. Our analysts are also available to provide further insight into their respective markets.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

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Information on this release:

CMHC media relations

National
Jonathan Rotondo
CMHC Media Relations
613-748-2734
jrotondo@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Atlantic
Katherine LeBlanc
902-789-5709
krleblan@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Quebec
Catherine Léger
514-283-7972
cléger@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Ontario
Angelina Ritacco
416-218-3320
aritacco@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Prairies
Courtney Gillis
403-515-3012
cgillis@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

British Columbia
Jeanette Wilkinson
604-737-4025
jpwilkins@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Additional data is available upon request.

 
Preliminary housing start data in centres 10,000 population and over
  Single-Detached All Others Total
April 2016 April 2017 % April 2016 April 2017 % April 2016 April 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.-L. 35 20 -43 9 7 -22 44 27 -39
P.E.I. 16 23 44 15 4 -73 31 27 -13
N.S. 72 60 -17 32 417 ## 104 477 359
N.B. 25 20 -20 30 11 -63 55 31 -44
Atlantic 148 123 -17 86 439 410 234 562 140
Qc 677 698 3 1,874 2,510 34 2,551 3,208 26
Ont. 1,754 1,987 13 3,298 3,523 7 5,052 5,510 9
Man. 210 236 12 135 167 24 345 403 17
Sask. 123 212 72 228 107 -53 351 319 -9
Alta. 747 1,082 45 1,454 1,458 0 2,201 2,540 15
Prairies 1,080 1,530 42 1,817 1,732 -5 2,897 3,262 13
B.C. 839 970 16 2,904 2,812 -3 3,743 3,782 1
Canada (10,000+) 4,498 5,308 18 9,979 11,016 10 14,477 16,324 13
Metropolitan Areas  
Abbotsford-Mission 39 42 8 29 65 124 68 107 57
Barrie 22 3 -86 17 54 218 39 57 46
Belleville ** 42 ## ** 11 ## ** 53 ##
Brantford 30 6 -80 7 14 100 37 20 -46
Calgary 224 402 79 591 697 18 815 1,099 35
Edmonton 338 357 6 797 537 -33 1,135 894 -21
Greater Sudbury 0 1 ## 0 4 ## 0 5 ##
Guelph 13 20 54 110 90 -18 123 110 -11
Halifax 37 34 -8 14 404 ## 51 438 ##
Hamilton 70 17 -76 104 190 83 174 207 19
Kelowna 51 110 116 41 293 ## 92 403 338
Kingston 23 15 -35 11 24 118 34 39 15
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 75 109 45 70 79 13 145 188 30
Lethbridge ** 34 ## ** 14 ## ** 48 ##
London 101 136 35 80 38 -53 181 174 -4
Moncton 11 6 -45 28 10 -64 39 16 -59
Montréal 288 320 11 952 1,516 59 1,240 1,836 48
Oshawa 74 63 -15 92 7 -92 166 70 -58
Ottawa-Gatineau 156 127 -19 306 426 39 462 553 20
Gatineau 10 9 -10 150 81 -46 160 90 -44
Ottawa 146 118 -19 156 345 121 302 463 53
Peterborough 2 33 ## 0 11 ## 2 44 ##
Québec 83 93 12 333 520 56 416 613 47
Regina 50 88 76 38 63 66 88 151 72
Saguenay 9 18 100 21 20 -5 30 38 27
St. Catharines-Niagara 85 114 34 70 73 4 155 187 21
Saint John 10 10 - 2 0 -100 12 10 -17
St. John's 29 17 -41 8 6 -25 37 23 -38
Saskatoon 61 96 57 177 23 -87 238 119 -50
Sherbrooke 26 33 27 86 79 -8 112 112 -
Thunder Bay 0 1 ## 0 4 ## 0 5 ##
Toronto 742 915 23 2,358 2,352 0 3,100 3,267 5
Trois-Rivières 26 24 -8 24 30 25 50 54 8
Vancouver 458 409 -11 2,293 2,152 -6 2,751 2,561 -7
Victoria 65 85 31 227 130 -43 292 215 -26
Windsor 71 97 37 26 20 -23 97 117 21
Winnipeg 192 220 15 129 160 24 321 380 18
Total 3,461 4,097 18 9,041 10,116 12 12,502 14,213 14

Data for 2016 based on 2011 Census Definitions.
Data for 2017 based on 2016 Census Definitions.
Source: Market Analysis Centre, CMHC

** Belleville and Lethbridge were not metropolitan areas in 2016.
## not calculable/extreme value

Preliminary housing start data — seasonally adjusted at annual rates (SAAR)
  Single-Detached All Others Total
March 2017 April 2017 % March 2017 April 2017 % March 2017 April 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.L. 484 466 -4 161 156 -3 645 622 -4
P.E.I. 987 359 -64 24 48 100 1,011 407 -60
N.S. 1,030 975 -5 170 5,044 ## 1,200 6,019 402
N.B. 382 562 47 664 162 -76 1,046 724 -31
Qc 6,320 6,571 4 47,573 31,910 -33 53,893 38,481 -29
Ont. 35,227 28,396 -19 52,419 42,926 -18 87,646 71,322 -19
Man. 3,867 2,535 -34 3,396 2,004 -41 7,263 4,539 -38
Sask. 2,644 2,132 -19 1,836 1,284 -30 4,480 3,416 -24
Alta. 11,267 12,279 9 22,065 17,072 -23 33,332 29,351 -12
B.C. 11,909 10,896 -9 32,975 33,708 2 44,884 44,604 -1
Canada (10,000+) 74,117 65,171 -12 161,283 134,314 -17 235,400 199,485 -15
Canada (All Areas) 87,655 76,337 -13 164,651 137,761 -16 252,305 214,098 -15
Metropolitan Areas  
Abbotsford-Mission 703 433 -38 936 780 -17 1,639 1,213 -26
Barrie 307 54 -82 1,476 648 -56 1,783 702 -61
Belleville 969 387 -60 132 132 - 1,101 519 -53
Brantford 107 58 -46 48 168 250 155 226 46
Calgary 4,249 4,631 9 10,344 8,364 -19 14,593 12,995 -11
Edmonton 4,001 4,294 7 10,560 6,444 -39 14,561 10,738 -26
Greater Sudbury 107 148 38 0 48 ## 107 196 83
Guelph 288 274 -5 1,296 1,080 -17 1,584 1,354 -15
Halifax 433 593 37 24 4,848 ## 457 5,441 ##
Hamilton 427 189 -56 744 2,280 206 1,171 2,469 111
Kelowna 1,035 1,291 25 5,292 3,516 -34 6,327 4,807 -24
Kingston 235 263 12 36 288 ## 271 551 103
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 1,931 1,658 -14 564 948 68 2,495 2,606 4
Lethbridge 671 496 -26 216 168 -22 887 664 -25
London 2,156 1,781 -17 1,500 456 -70 3,656 2,237 -39
Moncton 93 202 117 660 120 -82 753 322 -57
Montréal 2,587 2,696 4 24,881 17,326 -30 27,468 20,022 -27
Oshawa 2,111 1,077 -49 192 84 -56 2,303 1,161 -50
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,068 1,746 -43 5,148 5,112 -1 8,216 6,858 -17
Gatineau 533 196 -63 3,864 972 -75 4,397 1,168 -73
Ottawa 2,535 1,550 -39 1,284 4,140 222 3,819 5,690 49
Peterborough 506 431 -15 24 132 450 530 563 6
Québec 797 708 -11 2,388 6,240 161 3,185 6,948 118
Regina 729 1,017 40 696 756 9 1,425 1,773 24
Saguenay 174 218 25 312 240 -23 486 458 -6
St. Catharines-Niagara 1,591 1,672 5 624 876 40 2,215 2,548 15
Saint John 138 168 22 0 0 - 138 168 22
St. John's 349 347 -1 0 72 ## 349 419 20
Saskatoon 1,523 1,240 -19 1,116 276 -75 2,639 1,516 -43
Sherbrooke 297 314 6 1,044 948 -9 1,341 1,262 -6
Thunder Bay 159 67 -58 0 48 ## 159 115 -28
Toronto 14,362 13,175 -8 38,280 28,224 -26 52,642 41,399 -21
Trois-Rivières 373 207 -45 144 360 150 517 567 10
Vancouver 5,959 4,561 -23 24,528 25,824 5 30,487 30,385 0
Victoria 1,061 957 -10 948 1,560 65 2,009 2,517 25
Windsor 1,212 961 -21 468 240 -49 1,680 1,201 -29
Winnipeg 3,027 2,297 -24 3,288 1,920 -42 6,315 4,217 -33

Data based on 2016 Census Definitions.
Source: Market Analysis Centre, CMHC
## not calculable/extreme value

Canada

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