The trend in housing starts was 214,598  units in August 2018, compared to 219,656 units in July 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.

"The national trend in housing starts continued to decline in August from the historical peak that was recorded in March 2018," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "This moderation brings total starts closer to historical averages, largely reflecting recent declines in the trend of multi-unit starts from historically elevated levels earlier in the year."

Monthly Highlights

Vancouver

Housing starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) trended higher in August 2018 as more multi-family projects got underway across the region. The cities of Vancouver and Burnaby led the way and accounted for over half of starts during the month due to a number of new condominium apartment projects. Demand for housing from residents remains strong and has resulted in the pace of new home construction so far in 2018 moving ahead of the level recorded during the first eight months of 2017.

Kelowna

Despite a very strong August for housing starts in the Kelowna CMA, the first 8 months of 2018 have seen a decrease of 29% in the single-detached segment and 28% in the multi-unit segment, relative to the record year of housing construction seen in 2017. Despite this decrease in construction activity, the pace of housing starts in 2018 remains well above the 10-year average.

Edmonton

The trend measure for housing activity in the Edmonton CMA moved upward significantly in August, driven by an increase in new construction of multi-unit dwellings. Despite the rebound in construction activity in August, housing starts in the first 8 months of the year remain approximately 7% below the pace of activity of the same period in 2017, as builders deal with elevated inventories of completed and unsold units.

Winnipeg

Total housing starts trended higher for the second consecutive month. Total housing starts increased by almost a third in August 2018 compared to a year earlier as condominium and rental apartment construction both increased. Declining inventories have supported new construction.

Toronto

Total housing starts trended lower mainly due to fewer condominium apartment and single-detached home starts. Rising prices and land constraints have pulled back sales of pre-construction single-detached units over the past several years resulting in fewer single-detached starts so far in 2018 when compared to the same period in 2017. However, strong pre-construction sales of condominium apartments over the past couple of years have led to a higher level of condominium starts on a year-to-date basis, despite the pull-back in August.

Oshawa

Total housing starts trended higher in the Oshawa CMA, due to higher trending multi-family dwelling starts, particularly row units. August recorded the most actual row unit starts for the month in almost three decades. While demographic and economic conditions remain favourable, higher house prices in Toronto and surrounding areas continue to increase the popularity of relatively more affordable higher density housing in Oshawa.

Windsor

Housing construction in Windsor continues to rebound from a slow first half in 018. The trend in new housing construction grew for the third month in a row, with greater multi-unit construction driving the increase. Year-to-date housing starts were down by 27% compared to the same period last year, as the extraordinary levels of activity seen in 2017 eased and moved closer to levels consistent with economic fundamentals.

Kingston

The August trend in Kingston CMA total housing starts declined slightly for the first time in the past five months. Yet, it remained close to the high level seen during the last year. This strength comes off the heels of a strong year for housing starts in 2017 and thus far robust starts in 2018. Demand likely has been supported by the relative affordability of all dwelling types compared to other Ontario CMAs.

Saguenay

In August 2018, year-to-date housing starts in the Saguenay CMA were up over the same period last year. However, the trends differed depending on the intended markets. In fact, in the freehold (single- and semi-detached) home segment, an increase in starts was recorded, likely supported by renewed growth in full-time employment. Conventional rental housing construction was down, particularly because of a relatively high vacancy rate and a net migration deficit.

Halifax

While construction activity on the single-detached market remained stable year-over-year, multiples starts this month have more than doubled the levels recorded last August. Year-to-date, multiples construction has outpaced the same period in 2017 by 7%, with rental market demand continuing to be impacted by growth in international and interprovincial migration into the Halifax CMA.

New Brunswick

The trend in total housing starts in New Brunswick was up in August. Construction of multi-unit buildings has led the way so far in 2018 increasing by 13% year-to-date. Single housing starts were the highest for the month of August since 2015 and have increased 9% 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 200,986 units in August, down from 205,751 units in July. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 2.5% in August to 184,925 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 2.4% to 132,700 units in August while single-detached urban starts decreased by 2.6% to 52,225 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,061 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:

Angelina Ritacco
Media Relations, CMHC
416-218-3320
aritacco@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Preliminary Housing Start Data in Centres 10,000 Population and Over 
  Single-Detached  All Others Total
August 2017 August 2018 % August 2017 August 2018 % August 2017 August 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 65 61 -6 47 13 -72 112 74 -34
P.E.I. 29 33 14 17 23 35 46 56 22
N.S. 113 110 -3 152 283 86 265 393 48
N.B. 81 92 14 30 32 7 111 124 12
Atlantic 288 296 3 246 351 43 534 647 21
Qc 504 409 -19 2,114 1,410 -33 2,618 1,819 -31
Ont. 2,444 1,883 -23 5,886 3,570 -39 8,330 5,453 -35
Man. 209 242 16 369 490 33 578 732 27
Sask. 203 101 -50 352 153 -57 555 254 -54
Alta. 1,234 1,014 -18 954 1,772 86 2,188 2,786 27
Prairies 1,646 1,357 -18 1,675 2,415 44 3,321 3,772 14
B.C. 900 803 -11 2,118 3,077 45 3,018 3,880 29
Canada (10,000+) 5,782 4,748 -18 12,039 10,823 -10 17,821 15,571 -13
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 50 23 -54 60 9 -85 110 32 -71
Barrie 34 103 203 0 11 ## 34 114 235
Belleville 59 39 -34 10 29 190 69 68 -1
Brantford 15 70 367 29 16 -45 44 86 95
Calgary 388 403 4 421 693 65 809 1,096 35
Edmonton 566 415 -27 389 971 150 955 1,386 45
Greater Sudbury 13 17 31 19 4 -79 32 21 -34
Guelph 16 12 -25 10 116 ## 26 128 392
Halifax 74 75 1 132 267 102 206 342 66
Hamilton 99 53 -46 292 158 -46 391 211 -46
Kelowna 56 31 -45 444 295 -34 500 326 -35
Kingston 41 18 -56 19 12 -37 60 30 -50
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 73 46 -37 543 109 -80 616 155 -75
Lethbridge 44 23 -48 66 34 -48 110 57 -48
London 211 55 -74 187 39 -79 398 94 -76
Moncton 25 27 8 12 22 83 37 49 32
Montréal 189 127 -33 941 798 -15 1,130 925 -18
Oshawa 86 79 -8 176 176 - 262 255 -3
Ottawa-Gatineau 219 376 72 621 765 23 840 1,141 36
Gatineau 42 59 40 180 141 -22 222 200 -10
Ottawa 177 317 79 441 624 41 618 941 52
Peterborough 27 28 4 27 15 -44 54 43 -20
Québec 66 52 -21 579 165 -72 645 217 -66
Regina 61 33 -46 198 29 -85 259 62 -76
Saguenay 33 15 -55 12 23 92 45 38 -16
St. Catharines-Niagara 99 58 -41 59 37 -37 158 95 -40
Saint John 20 22 10 0 0 - 20 22 10
St. John's 48 43 -10 28 8 -71 76 51 -33
Saskatoon 118 53 -55 143 114 -20 261 167 -36
Sherbrooke 9 6 -33 12 30 150 21 36 71
Thunder Bay 20 23 15 24 12 -50 44 35 -20
Toronto 887 523 -41 3,725 1,971 -47 4,612 2,494 -46
Trois-Rivières 11 7 -36 179 2 -99 190 9 -95
Vancouver 430 431 0 1,351 1,663 23 1,781 2,094 18
Victoria 63 66 5 120 514 328 183 580 217
Windsor 82 58 -29 51 65 27 133 123 -8
Winnipeg 158 203 28 358 480 34 516 683 32
Total 4,390 3,613 -18 11,237 9,652 -14 15,627 13,265 -15

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
July 2018 August 2018 % July 2018 August 2018 % July 2018 August 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.L. 592 558 -6 281 147 -48 873 705 -19
P.E.I. 246 325 32 60 276 360 306 601 96
N.S. 1,134 1,266 12 4,236 3,390 -20 5,370 4,656 -13
N.B. 770 703 -9 1,226 361 -71 1,996 1,064 -47
Qc 5,917 5,516 -7 27,474 22,296 -19 33,391 27,812 -17
Ont. 20,583 20,140 -2 45,279 40,495 -11 65,862 60,635 -8
Man. 2,251 2,557 14 6,000 5,880 -2 8,251 8,437 2
Sask. 1,443 1,116 -23 900 1,836 104 2,343 2,952 26
Alta. 11,333 10,966 -3 17,348 21,056 21 28,681 32,022 12
B.C. 9,337 9,078 -3 33,180 36,963 11 42,517 46,041 8
Canada (10,000+) 53,606 52,225 -3 135,984 132,700 -2 189,590 184,925 -2
Canada (All Areas) 66,116 64,429 -3 139,637 136,558 -2 205,751 200,986 -2
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 399 242 -39 1,332 108 -92 1,731 350 -80
Barrie 1,082 1,240 15 0 132 ## 1,082 1,372 27
Belleville 404 370 -8 108 348 222 512 718 40
Brantford 536 658 23 252 192 -24 788 850 8
Calgary 3,283 4,395 34 8,508 8,316 -2 11,791 12,711 8
Edmonton 5,808 4,701 -19 6,216 11,652 87 12,024 16,353 36
Greater Sudbury 121 140 16 96 48 -50 217 188 -13
Guelph 90 143 59 972 1,392 43 1,062 1,535 45
Halifax 683 814 19 3,960 3,204 -19 4,643 4,018 -13
Hamilton 677 595 -12 2,712 1,896 -30 3,389 2,491 -26
Kelowna 585 398 -32 1,344 3,540 163 1,929 3,938 104
Kingston 308 167 -46 312 144 -54 620 311 -50
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 604 621 3 744 1,308 76 1,348 1,929 43
Lethbridge 439 297 -32 96 408 325 535 705 32
London 1,578 516 -67 1,104 468 -58 2,682 984 -63
Moncton 277 245 -12 240 264 10 517 509 -2
Montréal 2,559 1,765 -31 15,450 9,969 -35 18,009 11,734 -35
Oshawa 470 1,145 144 816 2,112 159 1,286 3,257 153
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,414 3,873 13 6,168 9,180 49 9,582 13,053 36
Gatineau 359 522 45 2,964 1,692 -43 3,323 2,214 -33
Ottawa 3,055 3,351 10 3,204 7,488 134 6,259 10,839 73
Peterborough 466 274 -41 0 180 ## 466 454 -3
Québec 788 617 -22 3,192 1,980 -38 3,980 2,597 -35
Regina 310 354 14 456 348 -24 766 702 -8
Saguenay 251 127 -49 192 276 44 443 403 -9
St. Catharines-Niagara 442 615 39 144 444 208 586 1,059 81
Saint John 151 188 25 624 0 -100 775 188 -76
St. John's 432 412 -5 288 96 -67 720 508 -29
Saskatoon 934 578 -38 324 1,368 322 1,258 1,946 55
Sherbrooke 251 150 -40 432 360 -17 683 510 -25
Thunder Bay 165 150 -9 0 144 ## 165 294 78
Toronto 5,400 5,394 0 34,464 23,652 -31 39,864 29,046 -27
Trois-Rivières 142 135 -5 528 24 -95 670 159 -76
Vancouver 4,332 4,821 11 20,952 19,956 -5 25,284 24,777 -2
Victoria 1,027 869 -15 3,840 6,168 61 4,867 7,037 45
Windsor 564 564 - 288 780 171 852 1,344 58
Winnipeg 1,797 2,100 17 5,688 5,760 1 7,485 7,860 5

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

## not calculable / extreme value

Date Published: September 11, 2018