The trend in housing starts was 219,988 units in July 2018, compared to 221,738 units in June 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 decreased in July, reflecting a decline in the SAAR of multi-unit dwellings in urban centres from the near-historical high registered in June,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. “Despite decreasing in July, the trend remains well-above historical averages, reflecting elevated levels of multi-unit starts in most major markets that has more-than-offset declining single starts.”

Monthly highlights:

Vancouver

Housing starts trended lower in July 2018 as fewer projects in both the single-detached and multi-family segments got underway. The densifying cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, and North Vancouver were focal points for new multi-family construction during the month. Despite the generally weak response of housing supply to changes in prices in Vancouver, particularly large increases in home prices and strong demand from a growing population in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) have resulted in an elevated level of new home construction so far in 2018, equaling levels recorded in the first seven months of 2017.

Victoria

The trend for housing starts moved higher in July 2018, continuing strong construction activity in the first half of the year for the Victoria CMA. While the number of multi-family projects getting underway declined relative to the same month last year, single-detached starts expanded, particularly in the West Shore municipalities of Langford and Colwood. With strong demand for all types of housing in the region, builders have responded by starting 14% more units in 2018 compared with the same period last year.

Lethbridge

The housing starts trend in Lethbridge CMA declined slightly in July compared to the previous month. Actual housing starts were down 19% in July compared to the corresponding period in 2017, with both single-detached and multi-family homes contributing to the decline. Elevated inventories and an easing of demand continue to assert downward pressure on housing starts in the Lethbridge area.

Saskatoon

Total housing starts trended lower in July as fewer multi-family projects got underway in the month. Homebuilding activity during the first seven months of 2018 has been characterized by a mixed performance, with single-detached starts down by 31% and multi-family starts up by just under 1%, compared with the previous year. So far in 2018, modest economic growth has kept residential construction below the levels seen during the same period of 2017.

Toronto

The total housing starts trend in the Toronto CMA was virtually unchanged in July. The decline in the single-detached starts trend was matched by rising apartment starts. High house prices continued to shift buyers from purchasing low-rise units towards relatively more affordable condominium apartments. Consequently, condominium apartment starts were the highest for the month since 2005. The majority of condominium apartment starts took place in the City of Toronto (60%), with the remainder taking place in Mississauga (19%), Vaughan (11%), and Oakville (10%).

Oshawa

Total housing starts trended lower in the Oshawa CMA, as both single-detached and apartment unit construction declined. In fact, July saw the lowest number of single-detached starts for the month since 992. While demographic and economic conditions remain favourable, the number of units under construction is the highest it has been in over 25 years, which slowed the pace of new projects.

Peterborough

The overall trend for total housing starts in the Peterborough CMA remained relatively unchanged into July, remaining close to the high levels witnessed over the last 19 months. This strength comes off the heels of a strong year for housing starts in 2017 and robust single-detached starts in the first seven months of 2018. Demand has been driven by the relative affordability of single-detached homes compared to other Ontario CMAs.

Québec CMA

In the Quebec region, year-to-date housing starts decreased by 10% compared to the same period in 2017. This decrease was due to the condominium and freehold (single-detached, semi-detached and row) housing segment. However, the rental housing segment continued to stand out. In fact, conventional rental or seniors’ housing units saw an increase of 48% over the same period last year.

New Brunswick

The first seven months of 2018 has seen total housing starts increase by 8% compared to the same period last year. Construction of multi-family projects continues to drive this growth, with an increase of 13% compared to 3% in single-family housing starts. The increase in multi-family construction projects are a response to a 7-year low in New Brunswick’s apartment vacancy rates.

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 206,314 units in July, down from 246,200 units in June. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 16.2% in July to 190,093 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 20.3% to 136,231 units in July while single-detached urban starts decreased by 3.6% to 53,862 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,221 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:

Audrey-Anne Coulombe
Media Relations, CMHC
613-748-2573
acoulomb@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Preliminary Housing Start Data in Centres 10,000 Population and Over
Single-Detached All Others Total
July 2017 July 2018   % July 2017 July 2018   % July 2017 July 2018   %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 97 68 -30 64 28 -56 161 96 -40
P.E.I. 31 31 - 47 5 -89 78 36 -54
N.S. 145 125 -14 224 358 60 369 483 31
N.B. 119 113 -5 78 111 42 197 224 14
Atlantic 392 337 -14 413 502 22 805 839 4
Qc 694 597 -14 2,709 2,199 -19 3,403 2,796 -18
Ont. 2,644 2,048 -23 4,510 3,901 -14 7,154 5,949 -17
Man. 266 223 -16 134 500 273 400 723 81
Sask. 219 156 -29 206 75 -64 425 231 -46
Alta. 1,291 1,092 -15 1,567 1,451 -7 2,858 2,543 -11
Prairies 1,776 1,471 -17 1,907 2,026 6 3,683 3,497 -5
B.C. 1,000 888 -11 2,929 2,772 -5 3,929 3,660 -7
Canada (10,000+) 6,506 5,341 -18 12,468 11,400 -9 18,974 16,741 -12
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 24 42 75 157 111 -29 181 153 -15
Barrie 101 169 67 1 0 -100 102 169 66
Belleville 39 47 21 36 9 -75 75 56 -25
Brantford 31 37 19 63 21 -67 94 58 -38
Calgary 430 301 -30 716 709 -1 1,146 1,010 -12
Edmonton 498 563 13 716 518 -28 1,214 1,081 -11
Greater Sudbury 28 22 -21 2 8 300 30 30 -
Guelph 18 10 -44 8 81 ## 26 91 250
Halifax 83 74 -11 194 330 70 277 404 46
Hamilton 52 76 46 204 226 11 256 302 18
Kelowna 87 46 -47 41 112 173 128 158 23
Kingston 42 37 -12 18 26 44 60 63 5
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 69 49 -29 299 62 -79 368 111 -70
Lethbridge 45 43 -4 18 8 -56 63 51 -19
London 197 156 -21 38 92 142 235 248 6
Moncton 37 44 19 17 20 18 54 64 19
Montréal 275 253 -8 1,553 1,287 -17 1,828 1,540 -16
Oshawa 100 51 -49 9 68 ## 109 119 9
Ottawa-Gatineau 276 339 23 1,015 514 -49 1,291 853 -34
Gatineau 62 38 -39 427 247 -42 489 285 -42
Ottawa 214 301 41 588 267 -55 802 568 -29
Peterborough 32 64 100 15 0 -100 47 64 36
Québec 118 70 -41 364 266 -27 482 336 -30
Regina 84 29 -65 105 38 -64 189 67 -65
Saguenay 16 32 100 10 16 60 26 48 85
St. Catharines-Niagara 155 53 -66 94 12 -87 249 65 -74
Saint John 26 19 -27 1 52 ## 27 71 163
St. John's 79 46 -42 60 24 -60 139 70 -50
Saskatoon 111 111 - 89 27 -70 200 138 -31
Sherbrooke 12 19 58 36 36 - 48 55 15
Thunder Bay 16 28 75 2 0 -100 18 28 56
Toronto 928 491 -47 2,864 2,872 0 3,792 3,363 -11
Trois-Rivières 27 13 -52 34 44 29 61 57 -7
Vancouver 492 411 -16 1,906 1,746 -8 2,398 2,157 -10
Victoria 84 97 15 611 320 -48 695 417 -40
Windsor 81 59 -27 41 24 -41 122 83 -32
Winnipeg 207 173 -16 83 474 471 290 647 123
Total 4,900 4,074 -17 11,420 10,153 -11 16,320 14,227 -13

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
June 2018 July 2018 % June 2018 July 2018 % June 2018 July 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.L. 643 600 -7 119 286 140 762 886 16
P.E.I. 266 244 -8 504 60 -88 770 304 -61
N.S. 1,501 1,116 -26 3,904 4,233 8 5,405 5,349 -1
N.B. 809 787 -3 1,879 1,222 -35 2,688 2,009 -25
Qc 6,616 6,081 -8 42,358 27,771 -34 48,974 33,852 -31
Ont. 21,394 20,577 -4 79,370 45,165 -43 100,764 65,742 -35
Man. 2,308 2,229 -3 3,384 6,000 77 5,692 8,229 45
Sask. 1,280 1,458 14 1,224 900 -26 2,504 2,358 -6
Alta. 11,288 11,397 1 13,548 17,409 28 24,836 28,806 16
B.C. 9,765 9,373 -4 24,553 33,185 35 34,318 42,558 24
Canada (10,000+) 55,870 53,862 -4 170,843 136,231 -20 226,713 190,093 -16
Canada (All Areas) 68,734 66,382 -3 177,463 139,931 -21 246,200 206,314 -16
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 357 424 19 192 1,332 ## 549 1,756 220
Barrie 242 1,062 339 3,048 0 -100 3,290 1,062 -68
Belleville 458 409 -11 72 108 50 530 517 -2
Brantford 764 502 -34 48 252 425 812 754 -7
Calgary 3,827 3,380 -12 8,484 8,508 0 12,311 11,888 -3
Edmonton 5,241 5,933 13 4,644 6,216 34 9,885 12,149 23
Greater Sudbury 167 124 -26 132 96 -27 299 220 -26
Guelph 181 95 -48 936 972 4 1,117 1,067 -4
Halifax 909 667 -27 3,372 3,960 17 4,281 4,627 8
Hamilton 465 671 44 5,976 2,712 -55 6,441 3,383 -47
Kelowna 1,107 585 -47 2,520 1,344 -47 3,627 1,929 -47
Kingston 347 318 -8 2,160 312 -86 2,507 630 -75
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 824 595 -28 2,436 744 -69 3,260 1,339 -59
Lethbridge 393 451 15 156 96 -38 549 547 0
London 1,027 1,596 55 5,760 1,104 -81 6,787 2,700 -60
Moncton 236 277 17 696 240 -66 932 517 -45
Montréal 2,800 2,592 -7 29,553 15,475 -48 32,353 18,067 -44
Oshawa 1,448 474 -67 1,548 816 -47 2,996 1,290 -57
Ottawa-Gatineau 2,966 3,365 13 9,744 6,168 -37 12,710 9,533 -25
Gatineau 279 340 22 2,448 2,964 21 2,727 3,304 21
Ottawa 2,687 3,025 13 7,296 3,204 -56 9,983 6,229 -38
Peterborough 364 482 32 60 0 -100 424 482 14
Québec 790 819 4 9,744 3,192 -67 10,534 4,011 -62
Regina 320 302 -6 492 456 -7 812 758 -7
Saguenay 251 263 5 264 192 -27 515 455 -12
St. Catharines-Niagara 614 434 -29 1,044 144 -86 1,658 578 -65
Saint John 204 150 -26 0 624 ## 204 774 279
St. John's 528 439 -17 84 288 243 612 727 19
Saskatoon 816 952 17 516 324 -37 1,332 1,276 -4
Sherbrooke 263 262 0 1,368 432 -68 1,631 694 -57
Thunder Bay 118 163 38 96 0 -100 214 163 -24
Toronto 6,231 5,444 -13 49,392 34,464 -30 55,623 39,908 -28
Trois-Rivières 159 163 3 504 528 5 663 691 4
Vancouver 4,462 4,282 -4 12,540 20,952 67 17,002 25,234 48
Victoria 958 1,039 8 5,016 3,840 -23 5,974 4,879 -18
Windsor 537 560 4 276 288 4 813 848 4
Winnipeg 1,767 1,769 0 2,868 5,688 98 4,635 7,457 61

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

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Date Published: August 9, 2018