Canadian housing starts trend decreased in September

OTTAWA, October 10, 2017 — The trend in housing starts was 214,821 units in September 2017, compared to 220,573 units in August 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 are trending lower in September after increasing for eight consecutive months,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Nevertheless, new home construction remains very strong as the seasonally adjusted number of starts was above 200,000 units for four straight months.”

Monthly Highlights

St. John’s

Drivers such as population, income and employment have put downward pressure on new home construction activity. Total housing starts fell 34% in September compared to the prior year. Single-detached starts declined 33%, while multiple starts declined 42%.

Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Tightness in PEI’s resale sector continues to cause demand to spill over into the Island’s new home market. Starts of single-detached homes were up 93% year-to-date in September, with most of the activity concentrated in the Charlottetown area. Record high levels of international migration continue to support starts of multi-family dwellings, which were up 16% year-to-date.

Quebec

In the third quarter of 2017, the annual rate of housing starts for the province overall reached 43,736 units, up from the level registered for the previous quarter (40,564 units). This last result, as were the relatively high totals for the previous quarters, was attributable to the strong momentum observed in the multi-unit housing segment, particularly in the case of rental apartments, for which starts remained significant in the Montréal and Québec areas. Given the strong activity observed so far, Quebec starts will likely post a gain in 2017.

Toronto

Homebuilders broke ground on fewer homes in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) during September 2017. Total housing starts trended lower by 7% in September from the previous month led by lower apartment starts. Monthly variations in high-rise starts are typical given delays in getting large scale projects off the ground. Low-rise starts remained strong. The overall pace of new home construction remains stable as strong demand for new homes in the Toronto CMA continues to persist.

Brantford

Single-detached starts were high in Brantford in September. New single-detached homes in Brantford were selling for $550,000 to $700,000 early this year, attracting the growing number of households from Hamilton and the GTA who could no longer afford detached homes in their markets.

London

Both single-detached and multiple housing starts in London CMA posted the highest levels for the month of September since 2006. Strong population growth and recent income gains have strengthened demand for new single-detached homes – encouraging builders to continue to keep single-detached starts elevated over recent months.

Saskatoon

Total housing starts trended lower in September after production of both single-detached and multi-family units slowed. While the pace of construction in the singles sector has been on par with last year, multi-family construction was down 30% after nine months this year. Elevated inventory of completed and unsold condo apartments have remained a drag on this sector. All told, total year-to-date housing starts in September were down 13%, compared to the same period a year ago.

Vancouver

Housing starts in the Vancouver CMA trended downwards in September as fewer multi-family home projects got underway. The high level of housing starts over the past year has led to a record number of units being under construction in the region, leaving little spare capacity to start additional projects. New home construction in the Vancouver CMA is being supported by population growth, a strong local economy, and low financing costs.

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 217,118 units in September, down from 225,918 units in August. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 5.1 per cent in September to 198,910 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 10.7 per cent to 131,388 units in September. Single-detached urban starts increased by 8.2 per cent, to 67,522 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,208 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:

For English inquires:

Angelina Ritacco
CMHC Media Relations
416-218-3320
aritacco@cmhc.ca

For French inquires:

Audrey-Anne Coulombe
CMHC Media Relations
613-748-2573
acoulomb@schl.ca

Additional data is available upon request.

 
Preliminary Housing Start Data in Centres 10,000 Population and Over
  Single-Detached All Others Total
Sept. 2016 Sept. 2017 % Sept. 2016 Sept. 2017 % Sept. 2016 Sept. 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 87 63 -28 15 16 7 102 79 -23
P.E.I. 26 42 62 32 51 59 58 93 60
N.S. 128 141 10 331 306 -8 459 447 -3
N.B. 71 97 37 209 218 4 280 315 13
Atlantic 312 343 10 587 591 1 899 934 4
Qc 771 751 -3 3,950 4,212 7 4,721 4,963 5
Ont. 2,423 2,594 7 3,291 3,854 17 5,714 6,448 13
Man. 181 267 48 215 210 -2 396 477 20
Sask. 206 176 -15 166 113 -32 372 289 -22
Alta. 1,075 1,209 12 1,264 1,184 -6 2,339 2,393 2
Prairies 1,462 1,652 13 1,645 1,507 -8 3,107 3,159 2
B.C. 1,003 1,003 - 2,979 2,263 -24 3,982 3,266 -18
Canada (10,000+) 5,971 6,343 6 12,452 12,427 0 18,423 18,770 2
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 31 40 29 31 134 332 62 174 181
Barrie 55 39 -29 237 16 -93 292 55 -81
Belleville ** 60 ## ** 10 ## ** 70 ##
Brantford 12 36 200 39 0 -100 51 36 -29
Calgary 391 465 19 814 449 -45 1,205 914 -24
Edmonton 469 453 -3 353 631 79 822 1,084 32
Greater Sudbury 19 17 -11 12 6 -50 31 23 -26
Guelph 26 19 -27 47 38 -19 73 57 -22
Halifax 66 76 15 318 280 -12 384 356 -7
Hamilton 33 70 112 106 78 -26 139 148 6
Kelowna 76 91 20 49 338 ## 125 429 243
Kingston 19 32 68 0 47 ## 19 79 316
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 175 101 -42 256 385 50 431 486 13
Lethbridge ** 44 ## ** 20 ## ** 64 ##
London 136 175 29 42 182 333 178 357 101
Moncton 26 34 31 170 118 -31 196 152 -22
Montréal 266 310 17 2,684 2,713 1 2,950 3,023 2
Oshawa 44 90 105 136 411 202 180 501 178
Ottawa-Gatineau 328 318 -3 591 489 -17 919 807 -12
Gatineau 97 73 -25 109 56 -49 206 129 -37
Ottawa 231 245 6 482 433 -10 713 678 -5
Peterborough 63 26 -59 6 8 33 69 34 -51
Québec 93 64 -31 641 869 36 734 933 27
Regina 55 56 2 70 96 37 125 152 22
Saguenay 17 17 - 29 8 -72 46 25 -46
St. Catharines-Niagara 112 86 -23 47 85 81 159 171 8
Saint John 12 18 50 5 63 ## 17 81 376
St. John's 73 49 -33 12 7 -42 85 56 -34
Saskatoon 128 95 -26 80 6 -93 208 101 -51
Sherbrooke 38 22 -42 34 41 21 72 63 -13
Thunder Bay 15 17 13 6 24 300 21 41 95
Toronto 1,001 1,080 8 1,568 1,900 21 2,569 2,980 16
Trois-Rivières 28 22 -21 70 15 -79 98 37 -62
Vancouver 512 501 -2 2,578 1,072 -58 3,090 1,573 -49
Victoria 89 62 -30
Canada

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