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.

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

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 -30 175 538 207 264 600 127
Windsor 81 66 -19 35 24 -31 116 90 -22
Winnipeg 158 225 42 190 189 -1 348 414 19
Total 4,647 4,876 5 11,431 11,290 -1 16,078 16,166 1

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
Aug. 2017 Sept. 2017 % Aug. 2017 Sept. 2017 % Aug. 2017 Sept. 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.L. 571 611 7 540 210 -61 1,111 821 -26
P.E.I. 321 328 2 204 612 200 525 940 79
N.S. 1,463 1,300 -11 1,767 3,515 99 3,230 4,815 49
N.B. 681 748 10 345 2,492 ## 1,026 3,240 216
Qc 6,431 7,363 14 31,894 32,870 3 38,325 40,233 5
Ont. 25,653 28,193 10 66,952 46,699 -30 92,605 74,892 -19
Man. 2,221 3,066 38 4,428 2,520 -43 6,649 5,586 -16
Sask. 2,167 1,874 -14 4,224 1,356 -68 6,391 3,230 -49
Alta. 13,091 13,502 3 11,363 14,181 25 24,454 27,683 13
B.C. 9,834 10,537 7 25,408 26,933 6 35,242 37,470 6
Canada (10,000+) 62,433 67,522 8 147,125 131,388 -11 209,558 198,910 -5
Canada (All Areas) 74,713 81,224 9 151,204 135,895 -10 225,918 217,118 -4
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 452 379 -16 720 1,608 123 1,172 1,987 70
Barrie 432 496 15 0 192 ## 432 688 59
Belleville 568 714 26 120 120 - 688 834 21
Brantford 167 346 107 348 0 -100 515 346 -33
Calgary 4,337 5,118 18 5,052 5,388 7 9,389 10,506 12
Edmonton 6,085 5,083 -16 4,668 7,572 62 10,753 12,655 18
Greater Sudbury 102 134 31 228 72 -68 330 206 -38
Guelph 171 180 5 120 456 280 291 636 119
Halifax 789 667 -15 1,584 3,360 112 2,373 4,027 70
Hamilton 1,133 831 -27 3,504 936 -73 4,637 1,767 -62
Kelowna 579 930 61 5,328 4,056 -24 5,907 4,986 -16
Kingston 348 372 7 228 564 147 576 936 63
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 924 981 6 6,516 4,620 -29 7,440 5,601 -25
Lethbridge 505 459 -9 792 240 -70 1,297 699 -46
London 2,095 1,984 -5 2,244 2,184 -3 4,339 4,168 -4
Moncton 226 338 50 144 1,416 ## 370 1,754 374
Montréal 2,634 3,126 19 11,633 32,774 182 14,267 35,900 152
Oshawa 1,153 1,087 -6 2,112 4,932 134 3,265 6,019 84
Ottawa-Gatineau 2,180 2,967 36 7,452 5,868 -21 9,632 8,835 -8
Gatineau 375 541 44 2,160 672 -69 2,535 1,213 -52
Ottawa 1,805 2,426 34 5,292 5,196 -2 7,097 7,622 7
Peterborough 236 336 42 324 96 -70 560 432 -23
Québec 823 690 -16 6,948 10,428 50 7,771 11,118 43
Regina 715 675 -6 2,376 1,152 -52 3,091 1,827 -41
Saguenay 217 184 -15 144 96 -33 361 280 -22
St. Catharines-Niagara 1,155 975 -16 708 1,020 44 1,863 1,995 7
Saint John 176 168 -5 0 756 ## 176 924 425
St. John's 439 463 5 336 84 -75 775 547 -29
Saskatoon 1,192 973 -18 1,716 72 -96 2,908 1,045 -64
Sherbrooke 183 189 3 144 492 242 327 681 108
Thunder Bay 140 142 1 288 288 - 428 430 0
Toronto 9,194 12,325 34 44,700 22,800 -49 53,894 35,125 -35
Trois-Rivières 165 254 54 2,148 180 -92 2,313 434 -81
Vancouver 4,780 5,344 12 16,212 12,864 -21 20,992 18,208 -13
Victoria 770 662 -14 1,440 6,456 348 2,210 7,118 222
Windsor 798 724 -9 612 288 -53 1,410 1,012 -28
Winnipeg 1,709 2,656 55 4,296 2,268 -47 6,005 4,924 -18

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

Canada

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