The trend in housing starts was 206,171 units in October 2018, compared to 207,809 units in September 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 declined for a fourth consecutive month in October, which leaves the trend at its lowest level since February 2017," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "However, despite declining for several months, the trend remains slightly above its long-run average because it follows historically elevated levels of activity in 2017."

Monthly Highlights

Vancouver

Housing starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) trended lower in October 2018 as fewer projects in both the single-detached and multi-family sectors got underway across the region.  Construction activity for the month was concentrated in the City of Vancouver, which accounted for over half of all starts with several major projects. With the resale home market softening over the course of 2018, new home construction for the year is on track to be slightly below the total for 2017.

Victoria

Metro Victoria housing starts trended lower in October, bringing year-to-date totals six per cent below the record-setting level of 2017. The year-over-year changes in October housing starts are large, due to the timing of major apartment projects. The trend in housing starts remains elevated overall.

Calgary

The housing starts trend in Calgary decreased in October from last month. The pull back in new construction was largely driven by lower apartment starts, as inventory levels for apartment units remain elevated. However, on a year-to-date basis, total housing starts in October were three per cent above last year at this time.

Regina

The trend measure of housing starts rose in October after local home builders increased production of apartment units. Nonetheless, the overall pace of new home construction in Regina is significantly below last year’s level, especially in the single-detached sector where elevated new inventory has slowed production.  Multi-family construction through October was down by 34% compared with the same period of 2017.

Toronto

Total housing starts trended higher in October on the heels of strong multi-family dwelling starts. Strong pre-construction sales of more affordable townhomes and condominium apartments over the past two years continue to lead to housing starts in 2018.  Meanwhile, the downward trend in single-detached home starts continued through October to its lowest level this year, mirroring the slowdown in their pre-construction sales over the past 12 months. Rising cost of land and lack of serviceable land have hampered new sales centre openings in recent years, thus resulting in fewer starts.

London

The trend measure of housing starts moved lower in October by nearly 10%. This month’s pullback was a result of fewer apartment projects starting and the continued slowdown in single-detached starts. The number of single-detached homes completed and unsold has trended up in 2018, which is likely resulting in fewer starts as builders can satisfy a portion of demand from existing inventories.

Belleville

The trend in total housing starts stood at a five-month high in October. The pace of new residential construction increased for both single-detached and multi-unit dwellings. One third of the total starts were rental apartments. Currently, all apartments under construction are purpose-built rentals, and represent 35% of total units under construction. Declining vacancy rates encouraged builders to build more rental units.

Montréal

Total housing starts in the Montréal area since the beginning of 2018 show a very slight increase. The aging of the population continues to fuel seniors’ housing construction. The relatively low vacancy rates on the rental market also stimulated the construction of rental units in the metropolitan area.

Trois-Rivières

Housing starts in the Trois-Rivières area trended higher in October 2018. Condominium and rental housing construction accounted for this growth, including the start of construction on a 118-unit seniors’ housing project. The decrease in the inventory of unabsorbed new condominiums along with employment growth contributed to supporting the need for new units in this market segment, while the aging of the population continued to stimulate demand for seniors’ housing.

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 205,925 units in October, up from 189,730 units in September. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 8.6% in October to 191,964 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 16.8% to 145,442 units in October while single-detached urban starts decreased by 10.7% to 46,522 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13,961 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, Facebook and Instagram.

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
October 2017 October 2018   % October 2017 October 2018   % October 2017 October 2018   %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 56 50 -11 60 22 -63 116 72 -38
P.E.I. 35 24 -31 21 15 -29 56 39 -30
N.S. 99 99 - 80 75 -6 179 174 -3
N.B. 70 47 -33 171 123 -28 241 170 -29
Atlantic 260 220 -15 332 235 -29 592 455 -23
Qc 613 527 -14 3,983 3,672 -8 4,596 4,199 -9
Ont. 1,906 1,698 -11 3,109 5,815 87 5,015 7,513 50
Man. 223 171 -23 184 258 40 407 429 5
Sask. 162 101 -38 270 415 54 432 516 19
Alta. 1,083 755 -30 1,319 682 -48 2,402 1,437 -40
Prairies 1,468 1,027 -30 1,773 1,355 -24 3,241 2,382 -27
B.C. 836 652 -22 3,707 1,834 -51 4,543 2,486 -45
Canada (10,000+) 5,083 4,124 -19 12,904 12,911 0 17,987 17,035 -5
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 25 23 -8 95 123 29 120 146 22
Barrie 75 11 -85 50 9 -82 125 20 -84
Belleville 37 60 62 23 53 130 60 113 88
Brantford 12 15 25 0 74 ## 12 89 ##
Calgary 385 273 -29 568 413 -27 953 686 -28
Edmonton 413 306 -26 397 182 -54 810 488 -40
Greater Sudbury 9 17 89 4 0 -100 13 17 31
Guelph 17 8 -53 24 105 338 41 113 176
Halifax 76 39 -49 70 51 -27 146 90 -38
Hamilton 51 39 -24 90 293 226 141 332 135
Kelowna 70 33 -53 101 29 -71 171 62 -64
Kingston 14 17 21 14 25 79 28 42 50
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 80 103 29 103 20 -81 183 123 -33
Lethbridge 43 25 -42 79 12 -85 122 37 -70
London 144 89 -38 42 126 200 186 215 16
Moncton 30 15 -50 140 92 -34 170 107 -37
Montréal 248 211 -15 3,180 2,580 -19 3,428 2,791 -19
Oshawa 61 141 131 258 290 12 319 431 35
Ottawa-Gatineau 308 309 0 318 1,187 273 626 1,496 139
Gatineau 55 27 -51 42 57 36 97 84 -13
Ottawa 253 282 11 276 1,130 309 529 1,412 167
Peterborough 22 6 -73 4 27 ## 26 33 27
Québec 56 75 34 273 303 11 329 378 15
Regina 48 26 -46 101 109 8 149 135 -9
Saguenay 25 17 -32 27 38 41 52 55 6
St. Catharines-Niagara 77 113 47 198 100 -49 275 213 -23
Saint John 14 6 -57 4 0 -100 18 6 -67
St. John's 37 35 -5 42 19 -55 79 54 -32
Saskatoon 92 60 -35 157 286 82 249 346 39
Sherbrooke 22 33 50 91 20 -78 113 53 -53
Thunder Bay 12 12 - 30 0 -100 42 12 -71
Toronto 684 403 -41 1,754 3,316 89 2,438 3,719 53
Trois-Rivières 20 14 -30 29 174 ## 49 188 284
Vancouver 368 297 -19 2,534 1,186 -53 2,902 1,483 -49
Victoria 76 60 -21 705 168 -76 781 228 -71
Windsor 52 48 -8 54 28 -48 106 76 -28
Winnipeg 159 123 -23 127 177 39 286 300 5
Total 3,862 3,062 -21 11,686 11,615 -1 15,548 14,677 -6

Data for 2017 based on 2016 Census Definitions.
Data for 2018 based on 2016 Census Definitions.
Source: Market Analysis Centre, CMHC
## not calculable / extreme value

Preliminary Housing Start Data - Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rates (SAAR)
  Single-Detached  All Others Total
September 2018 October 2018   % September 2018 October 2018   % September 2018 October 2018   %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.L. 569 508 -11 251 230 -8 820 738 -10
P.E.I. 202 273 35 600 180 -70 802 453 -44
N.S. 1,377 1,205 -12 4,801 936 -81 6,178 2,141 -65
N.B. 566 545 -4 1,084 1,475 36 1,650 2,020 22
Qc 6,425 5,859 -9 27,763 37,281 34 34,188 43,140 26
Ont. 21,475 18,421 -14 53,998 67,247 25 75,473 85,668 14
Man. 2,117 1,946 -8 6,540 3,096 -53 8,657 5,042 -42
Sask. 1,305 1,152 -12 1,512 4,980 229 2,817 6,132 118
Alta. 9,602 8,829 -8 11,039 7,940 -28 20,641 16,769 -19
B.C. 8,479 7,784 -8 16,985 22,077 30 25,464 29,861 17
Canada (10,000+) 52,117 46,522 -11 124,573 145,442 17 176,690 191,964 9
Canada (All Areas) 62,206 56,849 -9 127,523 149,076 17 189,730 205,925 9
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 259 258 0 156 1,476 ## 415 1,734 318
Barrie 567 103 -82 204 108 -47 771 211 -73
Belleville 394 568 44 84 636 ## 478 1,204 152
Brantford 134 228 70 0 888 ## 134 1,116 ##
Calgary 2,799 3,098 11 6,648 4,956 -25 9,447 8,054 -15
Edmonton 4,128 3,625 -12 2,724 2,184 -20 6,852 5,809 -15
Greater Sudbury 166 186 12 144 0 -100 310 186 -40
Guelph 124 117 -6 228 1,260 453 352 1,377 291
Halifax 719 499 -31 4,056 612 -85 4,775 1,111 -77
Hamilton 1,411 521 -63 3,552 3,516 -1 4,963 4,037 -19
Kelowna 375 344 -8 372 348 -6 747 692 -7
Kingston 408 306 -25 252 300 19 660 606 -8
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 714 1,038 45 3,312 240 -93 4,026 1,278 -68
Lethbridge 506 296 -42 156 144 -8 662 440 -34
London 1,887 1,072 -43 876 1,512 73 2,763 2,584 -6
Moncton 166 188 13 576 1,104 92 742 1,292 74
Montréal 2,586 2,439 -6 24,561 30,968 26 27,147 33,407 23
Oshawa 1,716 1,224 -29 396 3,480 ## 2,112 4,704 123
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,080 3,057 -1 5,568 14,244 156 8,648 17,301 100
Gatineau 391 241 -38 1,536 684 -55 1,927 925 -52
Ottawa 2,689 2,816 5 4,032 13,560 236 6,721 16,376 144
Peterborough 192 88 -54 276 324 17 468 412 -12
Québec 668 933 40 6,240 3,636 -42 6,908 4,569 -34
Regina 348 290 -17 432 1,308 203 780 1,598 105
Saguenay 141 176 25 384 456 19 525 632 20
St. Catharines-Niagara 410 1,067 160 2,448 1,200 -51 2,858 2,267 -21
Saint John 140 90 -36 480 0 -100 620 90 -85
St. John's 422 362 -14 204 228 12 626 590 -6
Saskatoon 806 736 -9 876 3,432 292 1,682 4,168 148
Sherbrooke 492 314 -36 1,728 240 -86 2,220 554 -75
Thunder Bay 138 119 -14 0 0 - 138 119 -14
Toronto 5,418 4,672 -14 36,732 39,792 8 42,150 44,464 5
Trois-Rivières 248 142 -43 360 2,088 480 608 2,230 267
Vancouver 4,170 3,692 -11 10,068 14,232 41 14,238 17,924 26
Victoria 817 712 -13 2,280 2,016 -12 3,097 2,728 -12
Windsor 672 579 -14 372 336 -10 1,044 915 -12
Winnipeg 1,787 1,501 -16 6,228 2,124 -66 8,015 3,625 -55

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

Date Published: November 8, 2018