OTTAWA — The trend in housing starts was 216,362 units in May 2018, compared to 225,481 units in April 2018, 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.

“In May, the national trend in housing starts declined following several months of stability,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “This reflects a decline in multi-unit urban starts in May that leaves them close to their 10-year average following several months of historically elevated levels.”

Monthly Highlights

Vancouver

The trend measure for housing starts held steady in May 2018, as the elevated pace of new home construction continued in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Increased activity is particularly evident in the multi-family segment, where housing starts have increased 9% so far this year.

Victoria

Langford led the Metro Victoria housing starts in May with an uptick in condo construction. Overall, the trend in total housing starts increased 6% from the previous month and year-to-date (YTD) total starts were up 34%. Rental construction remains the largest driver of housing starts in the Metro area, while single-detached units are down 15% YTD.

Saskatoon

The trend measure of total housing starts rose in May as a slowdown in single-detached starts was countered by a much faster pace of multi-family construction. The sharp gains in multi-family starts can largely be attributed to a purpose-built rental apartment project that got underway in May. After five months in 2018, multi-family starts in Saskatoon were up by 63%, compared to the same period of 2017.

Toronto

Total housing starts in the Toronto CMA trended lower in May, primarily driven by lower trending apartment and townhome starts. A better supplied resale market and higher borrowing costs continued to weigh down on demand for new homes, particularly for single-detached units. Fewer new home sales have ensued since 2017 and consequently fewer homes were started.

Brantford

Brantford housing starts trended up in May, as overall starts continued to be driven by single-detached starts. Despite moderating prices in nearby Hamilton, some Hamilton buyers continue to make purchases in Brantford's more affordable new single-detached home market.

Windsor

The housing starts trend fell by 14% in May, which was the sixth consecutive month of decline in the Windsor CMA. This month’s decline reflected a lower number of multi-unit starts, with apartment starts contributing the most. The recent slowdown in housing starts coincided with a moderation in existing home market activity, which has come off record highs as the effect of GTA buyers waned.

Kingston

Housing starts in Kingston trended higher for the third consecutive month, owing to an increase in the trend for both single-detached and multi-unit housing starts. These new projects are helping to address a shortage of homes in the resale market, as the number of new listings had plunged to the lowest level since March 2005.

Sherbrooke

In May 2018, the housing starts trend in the Sherbrooke CMA was relatively stable. Compared to last year, in the first five months of this year, conventional rental housing starts were up, stimulated by the decrease in the vacancy rate in 2017.

New Brunswick

Housing starts in New Brunswick dropped 10% in May 2018 compared to the same month last year to continue a trend of lower housing starts so far in 2018. A significant decline in multiples has contributed to a 26% decline in New Brunswick’s total housing starts year-to-date.

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 195,613 units in May, down from 216,775 units in April. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 11.1% in May to 178,201 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 16.4% to 119,811 units in May while single-detached urban starts increased by 2.0% to 58,390 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,412 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
Media Relations
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
May 2017 May 2018 % May 2017 May 2018 % May 2017 May 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 56 44 -21 17 13 -24 73 57 -22
P.E.I. 39 30 -23 18 18 - 57 48 -16
N.S. 105 88 -16 209 158 -24 314 246 -22
N.B. 66 56 -15 100 94 -6 166 150 -10
Atlantic 266 218 -18 344 283 -18 610 501 -18
Qc 653 748 15 2,312 2,673 16 2,965 3,421 15
Ont. 2,264 2,278 1 2,709 2,666 -2 4,973 4,944 -1
Man. 272 238 -13 581 219 -62 853 457 -46
Sask. 165 113 -32 214 238 11 379 351 -7
Alta. 1,117 1,077 -4 1,471 1,793 22 2,588 2,870 11
Prairies 1,554 1,428 -8 2,266 2,250 -1 3,820 3,678 -4
B.C. 1,027 891 -13 2,890 2,635 -9 3,917 3,526 -10
Canada (10,000+) 5,764 5,563 -3 10,521 10,507 0 16,285 16,070 -1
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 46 26 -43 89 24 -73 135 50 -63
Barrie 137 65 -53 75 141 88 212 206 -3
Belleville 53 42 -21 22 53 141 75 95 27
Brantford 35 53 51 68 60 -12 103 113 10
Calgary 369 384 4 588 1,265 115 957 1,649 72
Edmonton 487 511 5 803 452 -44 1,290 963 -25
Greater Sudbury 18 4 -78 0 8 ## 18 12 -33
Guelph 29 11 -62 21 8 -62 50 19 -62
Halifax 69 45 -35 179 137 -23 248 182 -27
Hamilton 34 57 68 127 357 181 161 414 157
Kelowna 91 72 -21 375 247 -34 466 319 -32
Kingston 31 30 -3 17 20 18 48 50 4
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 111 89 -20 184 87 -53 295 176 -40
Lethbridge 43 41 -5 14 24 71 57 65 14
London 140 142 1 95 43 -55 235 185 -21
Moncton 30 17 -43 90 27 -70 120 44 -63
Montréal 294 332 13 1,571 1,506 -4 1,865 1,838 -1
Oshawa 69 153 122 20 58 190 89 211 137
Ottawa-Gatineau 220 289 31 522 486 -7 742 775 4
Gatineau 34 35 3 92 179 95 126 214 70
Ottawa 186 254 37 430 307 -29 616 561 -9
Peterborough 29 42 45 8 24 200 37 66 78
Québec 78 78 - 292 447 53 370 525 42
Regina 49 32 -35 190 69 -64 239 101 -58
Saguenay 24 19 -21 29 20 -31 53 39 -26
St. Catharines-Niagara 116 58 -50 64 60 -6 180 118 -34
Saint John 16 17 6 0 0 - 16 17 6
St. John's 38 27 -29 13 9 -31 51 36 -29
Saskatoon 102 66 -35 12 144 ## 114 210 84
Sherbrooke 28 21 -25 85 126 48 113 147 30
Thunder Bay 9 5 -44 44 0 -100 53 5 -91
Toronto 651 833 28 1,296 1,242 -4 1,947 2,075 7
Trois-Rivières 16 36 125 36 30 -17 52 66 27
Vancouver 461 406 -12 2,021 1,856 -8 2,482 2,262 -9
Victoria 74 93 26 105 177 69 179 270 51
Windsor 75 59 -21 21 36 71 96 95 -1
Winnipeg 234 192 -18 488 207 -58 722 399 -45
Total 4,306 4,347 1 9,564 9,450 -1 13,870 13,797 -1

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
April 2018 May 2018 % April 2018 May 2018 % April 2018 May 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.L. 646 393 -39 92 151 64 738 544 -26
P.E.I. 317 283 -11 1,044 216 -79 1,361 499 -63
N.S. 1,006 1,137 13 2,057 1,992 -3 3,063 3,129 2
N.B. 600 651 9 357 921 158 957 1,572 64
Qc 6,112 6,541 7 47,120 28,933 -39 53,232 35,474 -33
Ont. 24,088 23,520 -2 42,710 28,833 -32 66,798 52,353 -22
Man. 1,953 2,559 31 3,192 2,628 -18 5,145 5,187 1
Sask. 954 1,216 27 804 2,856 255 1,758 4,072 132
Alta. 12,054 12,756 6 15,682 21,723 39 27,736 34,479 24
B.C. 9,531 9,334 -2 30,172 31,558 5 39,703 40,892 3
Canada (10,000+) 57,261 58,390 2 143,230 119,811 -16 200,491 178,201 -11
Canada (All Areas) 69,288 70,655 2 147,489 124,957 -15 216,775 195,613 -10
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 163 233 43 264 288 9 427 521 22
Barrie 381 445 17 2,568 1,692 -34 2,949 2,137 -28
Belleville 208 303 46 48 636 ## 256 939 267
Brantford 333 387 16 48 720 ## 381 1,107 191
Calgary 4,512 4,898 9 10,344 15,180 47 14,856 20,078 35
Edmonton 5,736 5,805 1 4,428 5,424 22 10,164 11,229 10
Greater Sudbury 521 38 -93 48 96 100 569 134 -76
Guelph 79 153 94 576 96 -83 655 249 -62
Halifax 706 482 -32 1,800 1,644 -9 2,506 2,126 -15
Hamilton 773 493 -36 6,792 4,284 -37 7,565 4,777 -37
Kelowna 762 816 7 3,780 2,964 -22 4,542 3,780 -17
Kingston 415 315 -24 384 240 -38 799 555 -31
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 633 1,056 67 672 1,044 55 1,305 2,100 61
Lethbridge 404 454 12 216 288 33 620 742 20
London 1,936 1,547 -20 2,556 516 -80 4,492 2,063 -54
Moncton 233 149 -36 72 324 350 305 473 55
Montréal 2,420 2,754 14 30,505 17,593 -42 32,925 20,347 -38
Oshawa 1,905 1,606 -16 0 696 ## 1,905 2,302 21
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,074 2,990 -3 4,836 5,832 21 7,910 8,822 12
Gatineau 560 476 -15 420 2,148 411 980 2,624 168
Ottawa 2,514 2,514 - 4,416 3,684 -17 6,930 6,198 -11
Peterborough 379 393 4 0 288 ## 379 681 80
Québec 712 683 -4 2,664 5,364 101 3,376 6,047 79
Regina 279 430 54 432 828 92 711 1,258 77
Saguenay 205 173 -16 396 240 -39 601 413 -31
St. Catharines-Niagara 873 668 -23 2,172 720 -67 3,045 1,388 -54
Saint John 65 161 148 0 0 - 65 161 148
St. John's 467 256 -45 48 108 125 515 364 -29
Saskatoon 613 626 2 180 1,728 ## 793 2,354 197
Sherbrooke 279 256 -8 1,176 1,512 29 1,455 1,768 22
Thunder Bay 7 59 ## 0 0 - 7 59 ##
Toronto 7,383 8,729 18 19,656 14,904 -24 27,039 23,633 -13
Trois-Rivières 130 324 149 1,560 360 -77 1,690 684 -60
Vancouver 4,567 4,255 -7 18,804 22,272 18 23,371 26,527 14
Victoria 1,003 1,089 9 2,268 2,124 -6 3,271 3,213 -2
Windsor 508 577 14 168 432 157 676 1,009 49
Winnipeg 1,612 2,000 24 2,784 2,484 -11 4,396 4,484 2

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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