Canadian housing starts trend increased in May

OTTAWA, June 8, 2017 — The trend in housing starts was 214,621 units in May 2017, compared to 213,435 units in April 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.

“Housing starts trended higher in May in Canada’s urban areas”, said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “Row and apartment units led the upward move, while construction has slowed for pricier single- and semi-detached houses.”

Monthly highlights

Halifax

Apartment construction continues to drive the residential market in Halifax with year-to-date apartment starts more than double 2016 levels. The single-detached demand is also picking up pace following a couple years of decline. Year-to date, single-detached construction has grown by 16 percent.

Québec

For the Québec area, the gradual decrease in the rate of housing starts which started at the beginning of the year continued in May. Condominium construction remains below the average of recent years and activity in the conventional rental housing segment also seems to be adjusting downward. This decline is occurring in a context where the vacancy rate is on the rise, particularly for newly built projects.

Toronto

In Toronto, total starts trended lower largely as a result of a decrease in single-detached and row units. May marks the first month that single-detached starts have bucked their upward trend since September 2016. This coincides with a noticeable increase in new home listings in the resale market, providing added choice to homebuyers, causing less demand to spill over into the new home market.

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

The trend of housing starts in Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (KCW) increased in May due to stronger starts for all types of housing. Single-detached and townhouse starts are higher this year. Demand for these housing types has been strong in the past few months due to the tight resale market and the influx of GTA households looking to purchase a more affordable home. New single-detached prices in KCW are approximately half of the cost of the same type of dwelling in Toronto.

Alberta & Saskatchewan

Housing starts are on the rise this year in most centres in Alberta and Saskatchewan – a good indication these oil and gas-dependent provinces are on the road to recovery. Strengthening labour market conditions in Calgary, Edmonton and Regina have generated more optimism among local homebuilders. In Saskatoon, year-to-date starts declined 25% as builders there remain cautious due to elevated multi-unit inventory.

British Columbia

Housing starts in BC trended higher in May with gains in Kelowna, Abbotsford-Mission and other urban areas off-setting a slower pace in Vancouver and Victoria. Low inventory in both the resale and new home market is fueling new construction with single-detached and multi-family starts leading the way.

Vancouver

Despite a slight downward move in May, overall housing starts for Vancouver are on track to exceed 25,000 new homes this year, nearing the record 27,914 starts set in 2016. The decline from April was almost evenly split between a slowdown in starts of ownership apartments (condos) and rental apartments.

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 194,663 units in May, down from 213,498 units in April. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 10.2 per cent in May to 178,518 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 10.8 per cent to 118,694 units in May and single-detached urban starts decreased by 8.9 per cent, to 59,824 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,145 units.

Preliminary Housing Starts data are 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.

For more information, follow us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Information on this telease:

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
604-737-4007
jpwilkin@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Additional data is available upon request.


 
Preliminary Housing Start Data in Centres 10,000 Population and Over
 Single-DetachedAll OthersTotal
May 2016May 2017%May 2016May 2017%May 2016May 2017%
Provinces (10,000+) 
N.-L. 99 52 -47 26 16 -38 125 68 -46
P.E.I. 26 39 50 53 18 -66 79 57 -28
N.S. 110 120 9 223 207 -7 333 327 -2
N.B. 86 64 -26 113 100 -12 199 164 -18
Atlantic 321 275 -14 415 341 -18 736 616 -16
Qc 757 674 -11 2,824 2,424 -14 3,581 3,098 -13
Ont. 2,644 2,151 -19 3,765 2,765 -27 6,409 4,916 -23
Man. 170 257 51 246 568 131 416 825 98
Sask. 189 179 -5 65 222 242 254 401 58
Alta. 749 1,095 46 948 1,485 57 1,697 2,580 52
Prairies 1,108 1,531 38 1,259 2,275 81 2,367 3,806 61
B.C. 961 1,049 9 2,001 2,889 44 2,962 3,938 33
Canada (10,000+) 5,791 5,680 -2 10,264 10,694 4 16,055 16,374 2
Metropolitan Areas  
Abbotsford-Mission 49 46 -6 60 89 48 109 135 24
Barrie 96 137 43 46 75 63 142 212 49
Belleville ** 53 ## ** 22 ## ** 75 ##
Brantford 43 35 -19 2 68 ## 45 103 129
Calgary 243 369 52 405 588 45 648 957 48
Edmonton 328 487 48 487 803 65 815 1,290 58
Greater Sudbury 10 18 80 10 0 -100 20 18 -10
Guelph 15 29 93 213 21 -90 228 50 -78
Halifax 57 69 21 189 181 -4 246 250 2
Hamilton 112 34 -70 126 127 1 238 161 -32
Kelowna 64 91 42 155 375 142 219 466 113
Kingston 28 31 11 5 17 240 33 48 45
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 162 111 -31 104 184 77 266 295 11
Lethbridge ** 43 ## ** 14 ## ** 57 ##
London 147 140 -5 387 95 -75 534 235 -56
Moncton 41 30 -27 22 90 309 63 120 90
Montréal 277 294 6 1,726 1,571 -9 2,003 1,865 -7
Oshawa 126 69 -45 90 20 -78 216 89 -59
Ottawa-Gatineau 254 220 -13 441 522 18 695 742 7
Gatineau 18 34 89 128 92 -28 146 126 -14
Ottawa 236 186 -21 313 430 37 549 616 12
Peterborough 40 29 -28 90 8 -91 130 37 -72
Québec 121 78 -36 500 292 -42 621 370 -40
Regina 56 49 -13 38 190 400 94 239 154
Saguenay 32 24 -25 20 29 45 52 53 2
St. Catharines-Niagara 164 116 -29 35 64 83 199 180 -10
Saint John 17 16 -6 1 0 -100 18 16 -11
St. John's 82 38 -54 20 13 -35 102 51 -50
Saskatoon 122 102 -16 4 12 200 126 114 -10
Sherbrooke 17 28 65 58 85 47 75 113 51
Thunder Bay 15 9 -40 8 44 450 23 53 130
Toronto 934 653 -30 1,987 1,296 -35 2,921 1,949 -33
Trois-Rivières 21 16 -24 48 36 -25 69 52 -25
Vancouver 528 461 -13 1,483 2,021 36 2,011 2,482 23
Victoria 87 74 -15 137 105 -23 224

Canada

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