Canadian housing starts trend steady in October

OTTAWA, November 8, 2017 — The trend in housing starts was 216,770 units in October 2017, compared to 215,153 units in September 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.

”The trend in housing starts essentially held steady in October following a decrease in September,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. ”Nevertheless, new home construction remains very strong in 2017, as the seasonally adjusted number of starts has been above 200,000 units in nine of ten months so far this year.”

Monthly Highlights

New Brunswick

After four years of declining construction activity, population growth has helped push New Brunswick’s housing starts up 28% year-to-date. Starts have been strong across the province, with much of the activity concentrated in the Moncton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Multifamily starts have been particularly strong in the hub city, up 49% year-to-date.

Montréal

In the Montréal area, this past month saw the highest level ever recorded of residential construction for the month of October, with close to 3,500 housing units started—half of them on the Island of Montréal. Once again in 2017, condominium and rental housing construction has driven the growth. The decrease in inventories of completed and unsold condominiums and the low vacancy rates in newer rental buildings seem to have prompted developers to ramp up on construction projects this year.

Ottawa

Low-rise housing starts trended higher in October supported by improved employment and earnings this year. This increase was just enough to offset the effect of the sharp decline in apartment starts this month. To October, housing starts were 27% higher than their level in 2016. The rise in starts so far this year was mostly driven by a doubling in apartment starts following three years of declining high-rise construction in the CMA as the number of completed and unsold condominiums has trended down considerably since peaking in mid-2016.

Thunder Bay

October housing starts in Thunder Bay trended at their highest level in three years due primarily to a continued increase in the trend for multiples starts. Downsizing senior households, international post-secondary students and in-migrants to the CMA drawn in by an improving service sector have all been supportive of apartment starts this year. Conversely, the trend for single detached starts has remained mostly flat owing to more affordable alternatives in the resale market.

Toronto

Total housing starts in the CMA trended lower in October 2017, with the most pronounced declines occurring in single-detached home and apartment starts. Lower trending single-detached home starts are reflective of fewer sales of pre-construction units through 2016 and spring of 2017. Sales of pre-construction condominium apartment units have been brisk over the past couple of years and these units continue to start construction with varying levels of intensity each month.

London

Total housing starts in the London CMA were down significantly in October 2017 compared to October 2016, due to a high number of apartments started last October. However, single-detached starts in London CMA posted the highest levels for the month of October since 2007. Strong population growth and a low supply of resale home listings have strengthened demand for new single-detached homes – encouraging builders to continue to keep single-detached starts elevated over recent months.

Windsor

Multi-unit housing starts in the Windsor CMA posted the highest levels for the month of October since 2004, while single-detached starts trended lower for a second consecutive month. Slightly lower demand in the resale market evidenced by a declining sales-to-new listings ratio has discouraged builders from keeping single-detached starts as high as they were early in the summer. Also, Windsor’s growing population of seniors has strengthened demand for multi-unit starts, as seniors have a higher propensity to downsize to apartment units and semi-detached homes as they age.

Calgary

While labour market conditions and housing demand have improved this year, the trend in total housing starts has been slowing down over the last couple of months. A rise in active listings in the competing resale market combined with elevated inventories in the new home market, especially for apartments, have impacted new home construction. Despite the decline in the trend, total actual housing starts to the end of October were still up 24% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Vancouver

Starts trended higher in the Vancouver CMA in October, with seasonally adjusted monthly starts reaching a 12-month high. The increase was primarily driven by a significant uptick in condominium apartment starts in Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey, where the demand is strong for more affordable multi-family dwellings. Year-to-date starts remain below 2016 levels, mostly due to fewer projects getting underway in the City of Vancouver and on the North Shore this year.

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 222,771 units in October, up from 219,293 units in September. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 2.5 per cent in October to 205,935 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 12.5 per cent to 149,593 units in October. Single-detached urban starts decreased by 17.1 per cent, to 56,342 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,836 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
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
Oct. 2016 Oct. 2017 % Oct. 2016 Oct. 2017 % Oct. 2016 Oct. 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 71 51 -28 38 46 21 109 97 -11
P.E.I. 10 35 250 4 21 425 14 56 300
N.S. 93 117 26 227 97 -57 320 214 -33
N.B. 54 71 31 93 174 87 147 245 67
Atlantic 228 274 20 362 338 -7 590 612 4
Qc 641 576 -10 2,116 4,028 90 2,757 4,604 67
Ont. 2,670 2,026 -24 4,650 3,136 -33 7,320 5,162 -29
Man. 219 215 -2 159 164 3 378 379 0
Sask. 180 166 -8 160 281 76 340 447 31
Alta. 927 1,057 14 1,137 1,317 16 2,064 2,374 15
Prairies 1,326 1,438 8 1,456 1,762 21 2,782 3,200 15
B.C. 887 830 -6 1,245 3,681 196 2,132 4,511 112
Canada (10,000+) 5,752 5,144 -11 9,829 12,945 32 15,581 18,089 16
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 37 25 -32 143 95 -34 180 120 -33
Barrie 70 75 7 50 50 - 120 125 4
Belleville ** 37 ## ** 23 ## ** 60 ##
Brantford 11 12 9 12 0 -100 23 12 -48
Calgary 334 385 15 293 568 94 627 953 52
Edmonton 413 413 - 763 397 -48 1,176 810 -31
Greater Sudbury 16 9 -44 16 4 -75 32 13 -59
Guelph 32 17 -47 68 24 -65 100 41 -59
Halifax 43 76 77 193 70 -64 236 146 -38
Hamilton 73 51 -30 193 90 -53 266 141 -47
Kelowna 89 70 -21 115 101 -12 204 171 -16
Kingston 35 14 -60 16 14 -13 51 28 -45
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 159 80 -50 103 103 - 262 183 -30
Lethbridge ** 43 ## ** 79 ## ** 122 ##
London 117 144 23 296 42 -86 413 186 -55
Moncton 12 30 150 47 140 198 59 170 188
Montréal 248 248 - 1,029 3,180 209 1,277 3,428 168
Oshawa 75 61 -19 200 258 29 275 319 16
Ottawa-Gatineau 249 308 24 691 318 -54 940 626 -33
Gatineau 45 55 22 291 42 -86 336 97 -71
Ottawa 204 253 24 400 276 -31 604 529 -12
Peterborough 20 22 10 16 4 -75 36 26 -28
Québec 110 56 -49 324 273 -16 434 329 -24
Regina 76 48 -37 71 101 42 147 149 1
Saguenay 11 25 127 46 27 -41 57 52 -9
St. Catharines-Niagara 123 77 -37 45 198 340 168 275 64
Saint John 17 14 -18 1 4 300 18 18 -
St. John's 60 37 -38 35 42 20 95 79 -17
Saskatoon 80 92 15 62 157 153 142 249 75
Sherbrooke 34 22 -35 82 91 11 116 113 -3
Thunder Bay 16 12 -25 0 30 ## 16 42 163
Toronto 1,215 684 -44 2,989 1,754 -41 4,204 2,438 -42
Trois-Rivières 18 20 11 12 29 142 30 49 63
Vancouver 415 367 -12 598 2,532 323 1,013 2,899 186
Victoria 77 76 -1 136 705 418 213 781 267
Windsor 63 52 -17 17 54 218 80 106 33
Winnipeg 198 159 -20 146 127 -13 344 286 -17
Total 4,546 3,861 -15 8,808 11,684 33 13,354 15,545 16

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
Sept. 2017 Oct. 2017 % Sept. 2017 Oct. 2017 % Sept. 2017 Oct. 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.L. 598 517 -14 305 514 69 903 1,031 14
P.E.I. 375 495 32 612 252 -59 987 747 -24
N.S. 1,276 1,256 -2 3,515 1,177 -67 4,791 2,433 -49
N.B. 749 809 8 2,508 2,169 -14 3,257 2,978 -9
Qc 7,252 6,332 -13 34,500 43,883 27 41,752 50,215 20
Ont. 29,080 21,073 -28 46,858 36,485 -22 75,938 57,558 -24
Man. 3,027 2,402 -21 2,520 1,968 -22 5,547 4,370 -21
Sask. 1,845 1,888 2 1,356 3,372 149 3,201 5,260 64
Alta. 13,290 12,085 -9 13,884 15,507 12 27,174 27,592 2
B.C. 10,468 9,485 -9 26,932 44,266 64 37,400 53,751 44
Canada (10,000+) 67,960 56,342 -17 132,990 149,593 12 200,950 205,935 2
Canada (All Areas) 81,799 69,327 -15 137,492 153,443 12 219,293 222,771 2
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 368 255 -31 1,608 1,140 -29 1,976 1,395 -29
Barrie 501 790 58 192 600 213 693 1,390 101
Belleville 690 396 -43 120 276 130 810 672 -17
Brantford 336 145 -57 0 0 - 336 145 -57
Calgary 4,925 4,490 -9 5,388 6,816 27 10,313 11,306 10
Edmonton 5,007 4,471 -11 7,572 4,764 -37 12,579 9,235 -27
Greater Sudbury 132 99 -25 72 48 -33 204 147 -28
Guelph 191 236 24 456 288 -37 647 524 -19
Halifax 672 877 31 3,360 840 -75 4,032 1,717 -57
Hamilton 787 742 -6 936 1,080 15 1,723 1,822 6
Kelowna 917 736 -20 4,056 1,212 -70 4,973 1,948 -61
Kingston 361 219 -39 564 168 -70 925 387 -58
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 962 839 -13 4,620 1,236 -73 5,582 2,075 -63
Lethbridge 458 452 -1 240 948 295 698 1,400 101
London 1,944 1,631 -16 2,184 504 -77 4,128 2,135 -48
Moncton 341 354 4 1,416 1,680 19 1,757 2,034 16
Montréal 3,294 2,654 -19 32,714 38,222 17 36,008 40,876 14
Oshawa 1,046 533 -49 4,932 3,096 -37 5,978 3,629 -39
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,077 3,070 0 5,868 3,816 -35 8,945 6,886 -23
Gatineau 535 423 -21 672 504 -25 1,207 927 -23
Ottawa 2,542 2,647 4 5,196 3,312 -36 7,738 5,959 -23
Peterborough 335 253 -24 96 48 -50 431 301 -30
Québec 678 774 14 10,428 3,276 -69 11,106 4,050 -64
Regina 658 534 -19 1,152 1,212 5 1,810 1,746 -4
Saguenay 191 264 38 96 324 238 287 588 105
St. Catharines-Niagara 942 842 -11 1,020 2,376 133 1,962 3,218 64
Saint John 169 178 5 756 48 -94 925 226 -76
St. John's 458 368 -20 180 504 180 638 872 37
Saskatoon 968 1,121 16 72 1,884 ## 1,040 3,005 189
Sherbrooke 189 196 4 492 1,092 122 681 1,288 89
Thunder Bay 141 112 -21 288 360 25 429 472 10
Toronto 12,499 7,001 -44 22,800 21,048 -8 35,299 28,049 -21
Trois-Rivières 234 192 -18 180 348 93 414 540 30
Vancouver 5,252 4,466 -15 12,864 30,384 136 18,116 34,850 92
Victoria 667 875 31 6,456 8,460 31 7,123 9,335 31
Windsor 710 656 -8 288 648 125 998 1,304 31
Winnipeg 2,742 1,792 -35 2,268 1,524 -33 5,010 3,316 -34

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

Canada

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