Canadian housing starts trend stable in January

OTTAWA, February 8, 2018 — The trend in housing starts was 224,865 units in January 2018, compared to 226,346 units in December 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 national trend in housing starts held steady for a third consecutive month in January, remaining near the 10-year high set in December,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “This reflects higher starts of multi-unit dwellings in urban centres in recent months, which has offset lower starts of single-detached homes.”

Monthly highlights

Vancouver

Starts for all home types in the Vancouver CMA trended up in January, reaching a pace nearly double that of the same month last year. There were 2,599 housing starts across the region in January of 2018, as opposed to 1,334 in January of 2017. The North Shore was a particular hotspot for activity this month as a number of condominium and rental multi-family units got underway.

Kelowna

Housing starts in the Kelowna CMA saw an increase in January 2018, totaling 87 units, compared with 51 units in the same month last year. The increase was supported by new rental units getting underway, continuing with the trend seen throughout 2017. New housing construction, particularly for multi-unit dwellings, continues to be supported by strong population growth and a robust labour market.

Edmonton

Housing starts in the Edmonton CMA have been trending lower since peaking in July of last year. On a month-over-month seasonally-adjusted basis, single-family starts were up 2% in January compared to December while multi-family starts were up 38%. Much of the increase in multi-family construction was due to an increase in the apartment segment where inventory levels remain elevated.

Lethbridge

Total housing starts in Lethbridge increased in the first month of 2018 compared to January 2017 with gains in both the single-detached and multiples segments. However, despite the year-over-year increase, both the trend and the SAAR recorded declines in January compared to the previous month. Declining employment in the region through 2017 has reduced demand for housing and has impacted the pace of new home construction.

Guelph

January 2018 saw the highest number of apartment starts for any January since 1991. Since 2012, the proportion of single-detached and row starts lessened on a year-over-year basis as more apartments were built. Strong starts for apartment units in recent years can be partly attributed to rising costs of homeownership, rising immigration of young professionals to the area, and strong employment.

Toronto

For the second month in a row, housing starts in the Toronto CMA trended slightly lower. An increase in apartment starts partially offset the decline in single-detached housing starts. Increased supply in the resale market has resulted in less demand for new single-detached homes. Meanwhile new condominiums remain in high demand as home buyers flock to relatively lower priced homes, and investors seek to capitalize on low vacancy rates and increasing rents.

Barrie

Total starts trended higher in January, driven primarily by an influx of row unit starts in both the Town of Innisfil and the City of Barrie. Land scarcity in popular areas and affordability concerns have encouraged row unit construction, which saw the highest starts in 2017 since 1999. Strong labour market conditions and population growth remain supportive of the demand for new housing units going into 2018.

Kingston

The trend in Kingston CMA total housing starts has declined slightly for four consecutive months, after having been pulled up by high numbers of rental apartment starts in June 2017. This pullback is likely temporary, since high demand in the resale market and robust demand for rental accommodations point to a need for new supply.

Gatineau

In January, the number of new housing units that got under way was fairly high relative to the last few years, thanks to the construction of many units intended for the condominium market. The stronger housing demand and tighter resale market are therefore continuing to support residential construction in the area.

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 216,210 units in January, essentially unchanged from 216,275 units in December. The SAAR of urban starts increased slightly by 0.2% in January to 198,400 units. Multiple urban starts essentially held steady at 134,685 units in January while single-detached urban starts increased by 0.6% to 63,715 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,810 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
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
Jan. 2017 Jan. 2018 % Jan. 2017 Jan. 2018 % Jan. 2017 Jan. 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 23 27 17 19 15 -21 42 42 -
P.E.I. 12 8 -33 25 4 -84 37 12 -68
N.S. 69 82 19 154 117 -24 223 199 -11
N.B. 17 20 18 65 19 -71 82 39 -52
Atlantic 121 137 13 263 155 -41 384 292 -24
Qc 159 174 9 1,245 1,313 5 1,404 1,487 6
Ont. 1,724 1,385 -20 4,795 4,254 -11 6,519 5,639 -13
Man. 177 160 -10 557 117 -79 734 277 -62
Sask. 108 76 -30 75 333 344 183 409 123
Alta. 651 784 20 451 844 87 1,102 1,628 48
Prairies 936 1,020 9 1,083 1,294 19 2,019 2,314 15
B.C. 415 740 78 1,602 2,461 54 2,017 3,201 59
Canada (10,000+) 3,355 3,456 3 8,988 9,477 5 12,343 12,933 5
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 17 27 59 251 20 -92 268 47 -82
Barrie 16 23 44 27 68 152 43 91 112
Belleville 11 16 45 12 58 383 23 74 222
Brantford 5 35 ## 0 2 ## 5 37 ##
Calgary 221 325 47 205 326 59 426 651 53
Edmonton 244 298 22 204 421 106 448 719 60
Greater Sudbury 2 2 - 6 0 -100 8 2 -75
Guelph 13 3 -77 17 200 ## 30 203 ##
Halifax 27 51 89 137 104 -24 164 155 -5
Hamilton 67 43 -36 130 136 5 197 179 -9
Kelowna 40 36 -10 11 51 364 51 87 71
Kingston 13 12 -8 6 12 100 19 24 26
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 87 132 52 216 567 163 303 699 131
Lethbridge 18 28 56 2 12 ## 20 40 100
London 61 59 -3 461 8 -98 522 67 -87
Moncton 3 6 100 64 0 -100 67 6 -91
Montréal 65 72 11 742 713 -4 807 785 -3
Oshawa 106 56 -47 67 64 -4 173 120 -31
Ottawa-Gatineau 98 138 41 472 515 9 570 653 15
Gatineau 3 18 ## 6 212 ## 9 230 ##
Ottawa 95 120 26 466 303 -35 561 423 -25
Peterborough 2 25 ## 10 0 -100 12 25 108
Québec 28 22 -21 170 221 30 198 243 23
Regina 51 32 -37 62 272 339 113 304 169
Saguenay 3 5 67 6 0 -100 9 5 -44
St. Catharines-Niagara 72 47 -35 9 66 ## 81 113 40
Saint John 7 7 - 0 0 - 7 7 -
St. John's 18 27 50 5 10 100 23 37 61
Saskatoon 48 37 -23 11 54 391 59 91 54
Sherbrooke 10 5 -50 148 18 -88 158 23 -85
Thunder Bay 5 1 -80 0 0 - 5 1 -80
Toronto 871 543 -38 3,139 2,605 -17 4,010 3,148 -21
Trois-Rivières 12 1 -92 46 5 -89 58 6 -90
Vancouver 172 428 149 1,162 2,171 87 1,334 2,599 95
Victoria 64 55 -14 111 45 -59 175 100 -43
Windsor 39 19 -51 16 7 -56 55 26 -53
Winnipeg 136 132 -3 498 90 -82 634 222 -65
Total 2,652 2,748 4 8,423 8,841 5 11,075 11,589 5

Data for 2017 based on 2016 Census Definitions.
Data for 2018 based on 2016 Census Definitions.
Source: Market Analysis Centre, CMHC

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Preliminary Housing Start Data — Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rates (SAAR)
  Single-Detached All Others Total
Dec. 2017 Jan. 2018 % Dec. 2017 Jan. 2018 % Dec. 2017 Jan. 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.L. 804 604 -25 681 319 -53 1,485 923 -38
P.E.I. 372 166 -55 204 48 -76 576 214 -63
N.S. 1,087 1,451 33 2,034 1,450 -29 3,121 2,901 -7
N.B. 763 664 -13 1,625 238 -85 2,388 902 -62
Qc 6,673 6,811 2 40,196 30,162 -25 46,869 36,973 -21
Ont. 24,656 25,663 4 36,705 56,492 54 61,361 82,155 34
Man. 3,072 2,526 -18 4,212 1,404 -67 7,284 3,930 -46
Sask. 1,658 1,437 -13 2,328 3,996 72 3,986 5,433 36
Alta. 12,533 12,622 1 8,751 10,699 22 21,284 23,321 10
B.C. 11,708 11,771 1 37,894 29,877 -21 49,602 41,648 -16
Canada (10,000+) 63,326 63,715 1 134,630 134,685 0 197,956 198,400 0
Canada (All Areas) 77,601 77,140 -1 138,673 139,069 0 216,275 216,210 0
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 446 612 37 156 240 54 602 852 42
Barrie 508 466 -8 516 816 58 1,024 1,282 25
Belleville 399 462 16 804 696 -13 1,203 1,158 -4
Brantford 131 708 440 24 24 - 155 732 372
Calgary 4,295 5,044 17 4,008 3,912 -2 8,303 8,956 8
Edmonton 5,100 5,184 2 3,660 5,052 38 8,760 10,236 17
Greater Sudbury 88 184 109 48 0 -100 136 184 35
Guelph 521 58 -89 960 2,400 150 1,481 2,458 66
Halifax 967 1,001 4 1,992 1,248 -37 2,959 2,249 -24
Hamilton 778 760 -2 3,216 1,632 -49 3,994 2,392 -40
Kelowna 921 785 -15 2,124 612 -71 3,045 1,397 -54
Kingston 594 324 -45 204 144 -29 798 468 -41
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 700 2,205 215 1,656 6,804 311 2,356 9,009 282
Lethbridge 436 470 8 264 144 -45 700 614 -12
London 2,118 1,380 -35 624 96 -85 2,742 1,476 -46
Moncton 184 278 51 420 0 -100 604 278 -54
Montréal 2,823 2,644 -6 37,465 9,561 -74 40,288 12,205 -70
Oshawa 1,508 1,264 -16 216 768 256 1,724 2,032 18
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,428 3,424 0 7,188 6,180 -14 10,616 9,604 -10
Gatineau 656 465 -29 576 2,544 342 1,232 3,009 144
Ottawa 2,772 2,959 7 6,612 3,636 -45 9,384 6,595 -30
Peterborough 390 501 28 288 0 -100 678 501 -26
Québec 694 684 -1 4,680 2,652 -43 5,374 3,336 -38
Regina 425 480 13 420 3,264 ## 845 3,744 343
Saguenay 233 288 24 360 0 -100 593 288 -51
St. Catharines-Niagara 1,691 940 -44 312 792 154 2,003 1,732 -14
Saint John 146 165 13 312 0 -100 458 165 -64
St. John's 592 555 -6 468 120 -74 1,060 675 -36
Saskatoon 988 767 -22 1,728 648 -63 2,716 1,415 -48
Sherbrooke 452 193 -57 624 216 -65 1,076 409 -62
Thunder Bay 75 66 -12 0 0 - 75 66 -12
Toronto 8,291 8,906 7 17,676 31,260 77 25,967 40,166 55
Trois-Rivières 146 32 -78 540 60 -89 686 92 -87
Vancouver 5,881 6,237 6 27,672 26,052 -6 33,553 32,289 -4
Victoria 1,077 855 -21 1,608 540 -66 2,685 1,395 -48
Windsor 513 467 -9 24 84 250 537 551 3
Winnipeg 2,642 2,057 -22 3,864 1,080 -72 6,506 3,137 -52

Data for 2017 based on 2016 Census Definitions.
Data for 2018 based on 2016 Census Definitions.
Source: Market Analysis Centre, CMHC

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Canada

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