Canadian housing starts trend increased in August

OTTAWA, September 11, 2017 — The trend in housing starts was 219,447 units in August 2017, compared to 217,339 units in July 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.

“Canada’s trend in housing starts was above the 200,000 unit mark for the eighth consecutive month,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Demand for new homes remains strong, consistent with consumer confidence which reached its highest level in ten years.”

Monthly highlights

Halifax

The pick-up in the single-detached market in Halifax has yet to slow with starts increasing by 61 per cent year-over-year in August. Year-to-date, single-detached construction has expanded by 28 per cent, reflective of continued development in the Spryfield and Bedford West subdivisions especially. The multiples market has also witnessed strong growth this month, climbing by 59 per cent year-over-year. With a number of projects in the pipeline to start before year-end, as well as a push to secure development agreements for projects that have been stalled, strength in the multiples market in Halifax will continue well into 2018.

Trois-Rivières

In Trois-Rivières, the marked increase in housing starts was attributable to the fact that construction got under way on many new seniors’ housing units. In fact, the needs related to an aging population in the area will continue to direct a portion of the demand for new homes toward multi-unit housing.

Toronto

Total housing starts in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) trended higher by 8 per cent in August compared to the previous month. While new construction activity of low-rise homes remains strong, last month’s momentum was mainly reached thanks to a strong increase in apartment starts, which approached a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 36,000. The positive market sentiment towards condominium apartments in Toronto translated into stronger pre-construction sales, and subsequently into new housing starts. The unprecedented pre-construction condominium apartment sales levels seen over the past few years will ensure that high-rise construction remains strong in the near term.

Kingston

Housing starts in Kingston trended higher in August. Builders started 60 homes, up from 38 a year ago. Starts of single-detached homes and apartments were higher. Year-to-date housing starts are almost double the total from the same period last year, with starts of all housing types higher. Apartment starts this year are at the second highest level in more than ten years. Greater demand for apartments in Kingston has mainly come from the aging population and students.

Regina

Total housing starts trended higher in August after local homebuilders increased production of multi-family units. After eight months this year, new home construction in Regina is continuing at a much more robust pace than in the same period of 2016. Declining new home inventory and signs of a strengthening labour market have generated more optimism among local homebuilders and pushed production higher in both the single and multiple sectors. As a result, actual year-to-date total starts were up 37 per cent in August at 1,420 units, compared to 1,039 a year earlier.

Vancouver

The trend measure for housing starts in the Vancouver CMA held steady in August. The pace of new home construction continues to be well above the historical average, as developers have been focussed on densifying more affordable suburban markets through the construction of multi-family dwellings. Demand for new housing is being supported by employment gains, migration and relatively low mortgage rates.

Kelowna

The trend measure for housing starts in the Kelowna CMA moved upward significantly in August as multi-unit housing starts, particularly starts of rental apartments got underway. So far in 2017, there have been a total of 1,366 rental units that were started, which is the most in any eight month period in Kelowna’s history. These new rental units will contribute needed supply to the market as the apartment vacancy rate in Kelowna has remained below one percent for the past two years.

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 223,232 units in August, up from 221,974 units in July. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 0.8 per cent in August to 207,524 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 2.7 per cent to 145,618 units in August. This masks a lot of volatility in provincial multiple starts. Single-detached urban starts decreased by 3.2 per cent, to 61,906 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15,708 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.

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Information on this release:

CMHC media relations

For English inquires:

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

For French inquires:

Audrey-Anne Coulombe
613-748-2573
acoulomb@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
August 2016 August 2017 % August 2016 August 2017 % August 2016 August 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.-L. 80 63 -21 42 34 -19 122 97 -20
P.E.I. 12 29 142 53 17 -68 65 46 -29
N.S. 86 114 33 94 164 74 180 278 54
N.B. 70 83 19 51 27 -47 121 110 -9
Atlantic 248 289 17 240 242 1 488 531 9
Qc 418 479 15 1,679 2,024 21 2,097 2,503 19
Ont. 2,552 2,487 -3 3,908 5,853 50 6,460 8,340 29
Man. 212 209 -1 185 367 98 397 576 45
Sask. 159 199 25 328 348 6 487 547 12
Alta. 849 1,228 45 790 959 21 1,639 2,187 33
Prairies 1,220 1,636 34 1,303 1,674 28 2,523 3,310 31
B.C. 928 898 -3 2,018 2,168 7 2,946 3,066 4
Canada (10,000+) 5,366 5,789 8 9,148 11,961 31 14,514 17,750 22
Metropolitan Areas  
Abbotsford-Mission 34 50 47 23 60 161 57 110 93
Barrie 68 34 -50 139 0 -100 207 34 -84
Belleville ** 59 ## ** 10 ## ** 69 ##
Brantford 18 15 -17 6 29 383 24 44 83
Calgary 331 388 17 411 421 2 742 809 9
Edmonton 342 566 65 296 389 31 638 955 50
Greater Sudbury 24 13 -46 29 19 -34 53 32 -40
Guelph 19 16 -16 19 10 -47 38 26 -32
Halifax 46 74 61 83 132 59 129 206 60
Hamilton 50 99 98 129 292 126 179 391 118
Kelowna 91 56 -38 128 444 247 219 500 128
Kingston 25 41 64 13 19 46 38 60 58
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 110 73 -34 178 543 205 288 616 114
Lethbridge ** 44 ## ** 66 ## ** 110 ##
London 135 211 56 273 187 -32 408 398 -2
Moncton 22 25 14 49 12 -76 71 37 -48
Montréal 133 189 42 1,314 941 -28 1,447 1,130 -22
Oshawa 52 86 65 135 176 30 187 262 40
Ottawa-Gatineau 196 219 12 437 621 42 633 840 33
Gatineau 31 42 35 94 180 91 125 222 78
Ottawa 165 177 7 343 441 29 508 618 22
Peterborough 15 27 80 0 27 ## 15 54 260
Québec 68 66 -3 80 579 ## 148 645 336
Regina 50 61 22 202 198 -2 252 259 3
Saguenay 13 33 154 16 12 -25 29 45 55
St. Catharines-Niagara 141 99 -30 47 59 26 188 158 -16
Saint John 15 20 33 0 0 - 15 20 33
St. John's 62 48 -23 38 28 -26 100 76 -24
Saskatoon 88 118 34 106 143 35 194 261 35
Sherbrooke 12 9 -25 32 12 -63 44 21 -52
Thunder Bay 19 20 5 8 24 200 27 44 63
Toronto 1,183 887 -25 2,363 3,725 58 3,546 4,612 30
Trois-Rivières 6 11 83 7 179 ## 13 190 ##
Vancouver 439 430 -2 1,614 1,351 -16 2,053 1,781 -13
Victoria 68 63 -7 82 120 46 150 183 22
Windsor 70 82 17 26 51 96 96 133 39
Winnipeg 189 158 -16 179 358 100 368 516 40
Total 4,134 4,390 6 8,462 11,237 33 12,596 15,627 24

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
July 2017 August 2017 % July 2017 August 2017 % July 2017 August 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.L. 803 546 -32 593 390 -34 1,396 936 -33
P.E.I. 229 314 37 564 204 -64 793 518 -35
N.S. 1,295 1,501 16 2,693 1,917 -29 3,988 3,418 -14
N.B. 753 692 -8 800 294 -63 1,553 986 -37
Qc 6,334 5,876 -7 29,332 30,286 3 35,666 36,162 1
Ont. 25,886 25,700 -1 50,515 66,535 32 76,401 92,235 21
Man. 2,541 2,222 -13 1,596 4,404 176 4,137 6,626 60
Sask. 2,219 2,159 -3 2,436 4,176 71 4,655 6,335 36
Alta. 13,407 13,107 -2 18,354 11,428 -38 31,761 24,535 -23
B.C. 10,507 9,789 -7 34,964 25,984 -26 45,471 35,773 -21
Canada (10,000+) 63,974 61,906 -3 141,847 145,618 3 205,821 207,524 1
Canada (All Areas) 76,555 74,269 -3 145,420 148,965 2 221,974 223,232 1
Metropolitan Areas  
Abbotsford-Mission 264 456 73 1,884 720 -62 2,148 1,176 -45
Barrie 738 440 -40 12 0 -100 750 440 -41
Belleville 324 548 69 432 120 -72 756 668 -12
Brantford 339 154 -55 756 348 -54 1,095 502 -54
Calgary 4,679 4,286 -8 8,592 5,052 -41 13,271 9,338 -30
Edmonton 5,441 6,225 14 8,592 4,668 -46 14,033 10,893 -22
Greater Sudbury 145 102 -30 24 228 ## 169 330 95
Guelph 142 169 19 96 120 25 238 289 21
Halifax 759 812 7 2,328 1,584 -32 3,087 2,396 -22
Hamilton 502 1,183 136 2,448 3,504 43 2,950 4,687 59
Kelowna 998 587 -41 492 5,328 ## 1,490 5,915 297
Kingston 375 342 -9 216 228 6 591 570 -4
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 689 925 34 3,588 6,516 82 4,277 7,441 74
Lethbridge 479 508 6 216 792 267 695 1,300 87
London 1,996 2,094 5 456 2,244 392 2,452 4,338 77
Moncton 240 221 -8 204 144 -29 444 365 -18
Montréal 2,725 2,494 -8 18,565 11,715 -37 21,290 14,209 -33
Oshawa 836 1,126 35 108 2,112 ## 944 3,238 243
Ottawa-Gatineau 2,632 2,090 -21 12,180 7,452 -39 14,812 9,542 -36
Gatineau 549 367 -33 5,124 2,160 -58 5,673 2,527 -55
Ottawa 2,083 1,723 -17 7,056 5,292 -25 9,139 7,015 -23
Peterborough 252 229 -9 180 324 80 432 553 28
Québec 1,342 862 -36 4,368 6,948 59 5,710 7,810 37
Regina 908 756 -17 1,260 2,376 89 2,168 3,132 44
Saguenay 134 214 60 120 144 20 254 358 41
St. Catharines-Niagara 1,253 1,199 -4 1,128 708 -37 2,381 1,907 -20
Saint John 199 178 -11 12 0 -100 211 178 -16
St. John's 712 428 -40 720 336 -53 1,432 764 -47
Saskatoon 1,109 1,209 9 1,068 1,716 61 2,177 2,925 34
Sherbrooke 145 185 28 432 144 -67 577 329 -43
Thunder Bay 97 136 40 24 288 ## 121 424 250
Toronto 9,644 8,956 -7 34,368 44,700 30 44,012 53,656 22
Trois-Rivières 276 162 -41 408 2,148 426 684 2,310 238
Vancouver 5,062 4,719 -7 22,872 16,212 -29 27,934 20,931 -25
Victoria 898 786 -12 7,332 1,440 -80 8,230 2,226 -73
Windsor 802 808 1 492 612 24 1,294 1,420 10
Winnipeg 2,039 1,732 -15 996 4,296 331 3,035 6,028 99

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

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