Canadian housing starts trend sees large gain in November

OTTAWA, December 8, 2017 — The trend in housing starts was 226,270 units in November 2017, compared to 216,642 units in October 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 reached its highest level in almost 10 years this November, reflecting a second consecutive increase in multiple starts,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “This largely reflects construction of multiple units in Toronto, where evidence of overbuilding is low due to the decreasing inventory of completed and unabsorbed multiple units and strong demand.”

Monthly Highlights

St. John’s

Total housing starts increased in November due to a notable increase in the multiple segment. The shift from single-detached to multiple housing starts has been driven by millennials and first-time buyers seeking lower priced alternatives in an uncertain economic environment. In fact, year-to-date housing starts are trending 12% lower than in 2016.

Trois-Rivières

The trend in housing starts in the Trois-Rivières CMA, although down from a year earlier, remained high in November. Overall, the renewed growth in starts observed since the beginning of the year has been mainly attributable to an increase in activity in the rental housing segment. This gain has been supported in part by demand from older households, who will in fact continue to have an impact on this market over the coming years.

Sherbrooke

The slight downward trend in housing starts that began a few months ago in the Sherbrooke CMA continued in November 2017. The slowdown in activity observed since the beginning of this year has been due to decreases in the rental apartment and condominium segments. In fact, the rental housing vacancy rate remains high and inventories of condominiums for sale are still sizable. However, starts of freehold homes stayed stable supported by strong employment among people aged 25 to 44.

Toronto

Total housing starts in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) trended higher in November 2017. Multiple-family dwelling starts trended significantly higher and contributed to the overall increase. Given escalating house prices of single-detached homes, more homebuyers continued to shift demand towards lower priced condominium apartments and townhomes. Higher sales of pre-construction condominium units in the past two years will continue to break ground throughout this year resulting in more condominium apartment starts.

Guelph

Guelph builders started 269 homes in November, significantly higher than the 62 homes started a year ago. This increase was due to the jump in apartment starts which are above the ten-year average in response to strong demand from downsizing seniors, young households, immigrants and students. The rental market in Guelph is tight with a vacancy rate of 1.2%. The strong demand for rental apartments has translated into more apartment starts. Single-detached and townhouse starts are lower this year. Fewer low-rise new home sales this year have translated into lower starts.

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo builders started 658 homes in November, significantly higher than the 222 homes started a year ago. For the first eleven months of 2017, single-detached starts are lower, while starts for townhouses are up 51% and for apartments, 26%. Demographics are playing a role in new home construction as there has been a shift to smaller households. One-person households, couples without children households and lone-parent households are increasing at a much faster pace than couples with children households which stimulates demand for affordable options such as townhouses and apartments.

London

Total housing starts in London CMA posted one of the highest levels ever recorded for the month of November. Strong population growth and a low supply of resale home listings have strengthened demand for new single-detached homes – resulting in a thirteen year high for single-detached starts during the month of November. In addition, stronger rental demand this year indicated by the lowest vacancy rate in London CMA since 2001, has already led to a higher number of apartment starts this year than the annual record set in 2016.

Regina

The trend in total housing starts declined in November after both single-detached and multi-family construction trended lower from the previous month. However, year to date, actual new home starts in Regina were 32% higher than in the same period of 2016. This is as a result of the strong surge in residential construction led by a 55% increase in multi-unit production. On balance, improving labour market conditions and continued population growth are supporting new home demand in Regina this year.

Vancouver

Seasonally adjusted monthly starts in the Vancouver CMA were lower in November mostly due to a pullback in apartment starts as the construction sector remains at full capacity. Fewer multi-family condo and rental projects are getting underway in the City of Vancouver, Richmond, and on the North Shore, meanwhile, Burnaby and New Westminster have observed higher multi-family starts so far in 2017, relative to the same period last 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 252,184 units in November, up from 222,695 units in October. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 14.4 per cent in November to 235,412 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 16.9 per cent to 175,016 units in November. Single-detached urban starts increased by 7.5 per cent, to 60,396 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,772 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:

Angelina Ritacco, CMHC
416-218-3320
aritacco@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
Nov. 2016 Nov. 2017 % Nov. 2016 Nov. 2017 % Nov. 2016 Nov. 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 66 55 -17 27 57 111 93 112 20
P.E.I. 16 29 81 11 55 400 27 84 211
N.S. 127 113 -11 230 216 -6 357 329 -8
N.B. 62 83 34 65 107 65 127 190 50
Atlantic 271 280 3 333 435 31 604 715 18
Qc 520 546 5 2,325 3,536 52 2,845 4,082 43
Ont. 2,672 2,303 -14 2,466 6,202 152 5,138 8,505 66
Man. 190 202 6 309 303 -2 499 505 1
Sask. 188 141 -25 81 186 130 269 327 22
Alta. 1,016 1,000 -2 1,027 1,774 73 2,043 2,774 36
Prairies 1,394 1,343 -4 1,417 2,263 60 2,811 3,606 28
B.C. 832 1,005 21 2,826 2,813 0 3,658 3,818 4
Canada (10,000+) 5,689 5,477 -4 9,367 15,249 63 15,056 20,726 38
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 15 57 280 5 112 ## 20 169 ##
Barrie 44 83 89 12 73 ## 56 156 179
Belleville ** 34 ## ** 18 ## ** 52 ##
Brantford 8 8 - 14 2 -86 22 10 -55
Calgary 346 390 13 399 1,114 179 745 1,504 102
Edmonton 436 400 -8 550 526 -4 986 926 -6
Greater Sudbury 12 18 50 2 6 200 14 24 71
Guelph 16 19 19 46 250 443 62 269 334
Halifax 46 51 11 195 171 -12 241 222 -8
Hamilton 91 59 -35 81 366 352 172 425 147
Kelowna 93 88 -5 51 145 184 144 233 62
Kingston 38 11 -71 7 11 57 45 22 -51
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 97 88 -9 125 570 356 222 658 196
Lethbridge ** 34 ## ** 6 ## ** 40 ##
London 141 163 16 84 478 469 225 641 185
Moncton 29 23 -21 16 91 469 45 114 153
Montréal 209 237 13 1,188 1,921 62 1,397 2,158 54
Oshawa 43 111 158 78 188 141 121 299 147
Ottawa-Gatineau 201 242 20 267 787 195 468 1,029 120
Gatineau 24 48 100 77 33 -57 101 81 -20
Ottawa 177 194 10 190 754 297 367 948 158
Peterborough 27 16 -41 9 0 -100 36 16 -56
Québec 90 66 -27 409 975 138 499 1,041 109
Regina 68 36 -47 30 102 240 98 138 41
Saguenay 17 19 12 26 41 58 43 60 40
St. Catharines-Niagara 122 110 -10 28 132 371 150 242 61
Saint John 6 25 317 6 2 -67 12 27 125
St. John's 54 42 -22 24 52 117 78 94 21
Saskatoon 99 79 -20 25 60 140 124 139 12
Sherbrooke 28 22 -21 141 130 -8 169 152 -10
Thunder Bay 12 16 33 2 12 ## 14 28 100
Toronto 1,308 886 -32 1,435 3,014 110 2,743 3,900 42
Trois-Rivières 16 13 -19 103 35 -66 119 48 -60
Vancouver 379 497 31 2,272 2,141 -6 2,651 2,638 0
Victoria 69 67 -3 199 156 -22 268 223 -17
Windsor 77 45 -42 63 96 52 140 141 1
Winnipeg 166 153 -8 291 291 - 457 444 -3
Total 4,403 4,208 -4 8,183 14,074 72 12,586 18,282 45

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
Oct. 2017 Nov. 2017 % Oct. 2017 Nov. 2017 % Oct. 2017 Nov. 2017 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.L. 517 526 2 511 612 20 1,028 1,138 11
P.E.I. 480 284 -41 252 660 162 732 944 29
N.S. 1,226 1,047 -15 1,180 2,420 105 2,406 3,467 44
N.B. 813 789 -3 2,154 1,266 -41 2,967 2,055 -31
Qc 6,191 6,440 4 43,848 38,311 -13 50,039 44,751 -11
Ont. 21,190 24,470 15 36,626 71,271 95 57,816 95,741 66
Man. 2,384 2,414 1 1,968 3,636 85 4,352 6,050 39
Sask. 1,825 1,570 -14 3,372 2,232 -34 5,197 3,802 -27
Alta. 11,960 11,078 -7 15,416 21,100 37 27,376 32,178 18
B.C. 9,604 11,778 23 44,341 33,508 -24 53,945 45,286 -16
Canada (10,000+) 56,190 60,396 7 149,668 175,016 17 205,858 235,412 14
Canada (All Areas) 69,161 73,247 6 153,536 178,937 17 222,695 252,184 13
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 260 688 165 1,140 1,344 18 1,400 2,032 45
Barrie 836 1,048 25 600 876 46 1,436 1,924 34
Belleville 391 489 25 276 216 -22 667 705 6
Brantford 151 142 -6 0 24 ## 151 166 10
Calgary 4,465 4,178 -6 6,816 13,368 96 11,281 17,546 56
Edmonton 4,396 4,351 -1 4,764 6,312 32 9,160 10,663 16
Greater Sudbury 102 160 57 48 72 50 150 232 55
Guelph 254 263 4 288 3,000 ## 542 3,263 ##
Halifax 850 628 -26 840 2,052 144 1,690 2,680 59
Hamilton 708 752 6 1,080 4,392 307 1,788 5,144 188
Kelowna 748 839 12 1,212 1,740 44 1,960 2,579 32
Kingston 221 97 -56 168 132 -21 389 229 -41
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 865 968 12 1,236 6,840 453 2,101 7,808 272
Lethbridge 452 462 2 948 72 -92 1,400 534 -62
London 1,632 1,858 14 504 5,736 ## 2,136 7,594 256
Moncton 340 190 -44 1,680 1,092 -35 2,020 1,282 -37
Montréal 2,653 2,741 3 38,178 23,021 -40 40,831 25,762 -37
Oshawa 491 1,485 202 3,096 2,256 -27 3,587 3,741 4
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,004 2,669 -11 3,816 9,444 147 6,820 12,113 78
Gatineau 423 471 11 504 396 -21 927 867 -6
Ottawa 2,581 2,198 -15 3,312 9,048 173 5,893 11,246 91
Peterborough 249 191 -23 48 0 -100 297 191 -36
Québec 769 737 -4 3,276 11,700 257 4,045 12,437 207
Regina 521 399 -23 1,212 1,224 1 1,733 1,623 -6
Saguenay 274 246 -10 324 492 52 598 738 23
St. Catharines-Niagara 870 1,101 27 2,376 1,584 -33 3,246 2,685 -17
Saint John 189 279 48 48 24 -50 237 303 28
St. John's 368 391 6 504 624 24 872 1,015 16
Saskatoon 1,094 887 -19 1,884 720 -62 2,978 1,607 -46
Sherbrooke 202 247 22 1,092 1,560 43 1,294 1,807 40
Thunder Bay 114 149 31 360 144 -60 474 293 -38
Toronto 6,975 9,040 30 21,048 36,168 72 28,023 45,208 61
Trois-Rivières 188 176 -6 348 420 21 536 596 11
Vancouver 4,376 6,171 41 30,408 25,692 -16 34,784 31,863 -8
Victoria 881 795 -10 8,460 1,872 -78 9,341 2,667 -71
Windsor 615 574 -7 648 1,152 78 1,263 1,726 37
Winnipeg 1,783 1,842 3 1,524 3,492 129 3,307 5,334 61

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

Canada

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