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

Canada

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