The trend in housing starts was 207,768 units in September 2018, compared to 213,966 units in August 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 stood at a 19-month low in September, following declines in four of the last five months," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "The slowdown in the pace of new residential construction activity in recent months is a result of both lower single-detached and multi-starts activity and brings new residential construction closer to its long run average from the elevated levels registered in 2017."

Monthly Highlights

Vancouver

Housing starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) trended lower in September 2018 as fewer projects in both the single-detached and multi-family sectors got underway. Construction activity for the month was concentrated in Surrey, which accounted for one quarter of all starts. Demand for housing from residents remains strong and has resulted in the pace of new home construction in the Vancouver CMA so far in 2018 equaling the level recorded during the first nine months of 2017.

Kelowna

The trend measure for housing starts in the Kelowna CMA moderated in the month of September as a result of a pullback in new construction activity in both the single-detached and multi-unit segments. In the first nine months of 2018, while new construction activity has declined relative to the record pace of housing starts seen in the same period of 2017, it remains significantly above the 10-year average.

Saskatoon

The trend measure of total housing starts increased in September after both single-detached and multi-family starts trended higher. However, overall new home construction in the Saskatoon CMA declined by 17% through September from a year ago reflecting lower single-detached starts. 

Winnipeg

Total housing starts in Winnipeg continued to trend higher in September. A number of new condominium projects were started this month. After nine months, multi-family starts are 3% above the level of last year at this time. However, total housing starts remain 5% below last year’s production as rising inventories of single-detached units have slowed activity in this segment of the market.

Toronto

Total housing starts trended higher in September, as the decline in the single-detached starts trend was more than offset by rising multi-unit starts. Multi-unit starts were strong across unit types, led by semi-detached units saw the most starts for the month of September since 2004. The relative affordability of these higher-density units continues to fuel their demand.

St. Catharines-Niagara

For the first time in four months, St. Catharines-Niagara CMA housing starts trended higher, mainly due to the apartment sector. New single-detached construction continued to slow, reaching the lowest monthly level in seven years. A more balanced resale market and higher mortgage borrowing costs have dampened housing demand particularly for relatively expensive single-detached homes.

Brantford

In Brantford, single-detached starts slowed for the first month since January. As a result the pace of overall starts in September also slowed considerably, since most new homes in Brantford are single-detached. Single-detached starts have already far surpassed their annual totals from each of the previous ten years.

Province of Québec

In Québec, the trend of housing starts decreased in the third quarter. However, the year-to-date total is slightly higher than that of the first nine months of 2017, due to the strength of Montréal CMA rental apartment starts.

Halifax

Total housing starts in Halifax trended higher in September, impacted by continued strength in apartment construction. Improving employment levels and strong population gains are supporting a growing rental market demand with multiples starts expanding by 21% this month, year-over-year. After remaining flat for the past two months, single-detached starts also picked up pace in September, increasing by 11% compared to last year.

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 188,683 units in September, down from 198,843 units in August. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 5.9% in September to 175,653 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 8.9% to 122,656 units in September while single-detached urban starts increased by 2.0% to 52,997 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13,030 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
September 2017 September 2018   % September 2017 September 2018   % September 2017 September 2018   %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 63 60 -5 24 20 -17 87 80 -8
P.E.I. 42 22 -48 51 50 -2 93 72 -23
N.S. 141 152 8 306 418 37 447 570 28
N.B. 97 68 -30 218 105 -52 315 173 -45
Atlantic 343 302 -12 599 593 -1 942 895 -5
Qc 751 750 0 4,212 3,421 -19 4,963 4,171 -16
Ont.  2,602 1,973 -24 3,853 4,644 21 6,455 6,617 3
Man. 267 188 -30 210 545 160 477 733 54
Sask. 176 129 -27 113 126 12 289 255 -12
Alta. 1,209 877 -27 1,184 949 -20 2,393 1,826 -24
Prairies 1,652 1,194 -28 1,507 1,620 7 3,159 2,814 -11
B.C. 1,003 806 -20 2,263 1,432 -37 3,266 2,238 -31
Canada (10,000+) 6,351 5,025 -21 12,434 11,710 -6 18,785 16,735 -11
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 40 25 -38 134 13 -90 174 38 -78
Barrie 39 35 -10 16 17 6 55 52 -5
Belleville 60 37 -38 10 7 -30 70 44 -37
Brantford 36 15 -58 0 0 - 36 15 -58
Calgary 465 280 -40 449 554 23 914 834 -9
Edmonton 453 370 -18 631 227 -64 1,084 597 -45
Greater Sudbury 17 22 29 6 12 100 23 34 48
Guelph 19 12 -37 38 19 -50 57 31 -46
Halifax 76 84 11 280 338 21 356 422 19
Hamilton 70 147 110 78 296 279 148 443 199
Kelowna 91 36 -60 338 31 -91 429 67 -84
Kingston 32 38 19 47 21 -55 79 59 -25
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 101 70 -31 385 276 -28 486 346 -29
Lethbridge 44 57 30 20 13 -35 64 70 9
London 175 171 -2 182 73 -60 357 244 -32
Moncton 34 18 -47 118 48 -59 152 66 -57
Montréal 310 283 -9 2,713 2,068 -24 3,023 2,351 -22
Oshawa 90 136 51 411 33 -92 501 169 -66
Ottawa-Gatineau 318 328 3 489 464 -5 807 792 -2
Gatineau 73 60 -18 56 128 129 129 188 46
Ottawa 245 268 9 433 336 -22 678 604 -11
Peterborough 26 13 -50 8 23 188 34 36 6
Québec 64 68 6 869 520 -40 933 588 -37
Regina 56 31 -45 96 36 -63 152 67 -56
Saguenay 17 12 -29 8 32 300 25 44 76
St. Catharines-Niagara 86 34 -60 85 204 140 171 238 39
Saint John 18 15 -17 63 40 -37 81 55 -32
St. John's 49 45 -8 15 17 13 64 62 -3
Saskatoon 95 85 -11 6 73 ## 101 158 56
Sherbrooke 22 56 155 41 144 251 63 200 217
Thunder Bay 17 17 - 24 0 -100 41 17 -59
Toronto 1,080 509 -53 1,900 3,061 61 2,980 3,570 20
Trois-Rivières 22 33 50 15 30 100 37 63 70
Vancouver 501 404 -19 1,072 839 -22 1,573 1,243 -21
Victoria 62 73 18 538 190 -65 600 263 -56
Windsor 66 67 2 24 31 29 90 98 9
Winnipeg 225 151 -33 189 519 175 414 670 62
Total 4,876 3,777 -23 11,298 10,269 -9 16,174 14,046 -13

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
August 2018 September 2018   % August 2018 September 2018   % August 2018 September 2018   %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.L. 530 572 8 252 250 -1 782 822 5
P.E.I. 313 199 -36 276 600 117 589 799 36
N.S. 1,364 1,398 2 3,642 4,810 32 5,006 6,208 24
N.B. 685 582 -15 433 1,082 150 1,118 1,664 49
Qc 5,569 6,651 19 23,068 26,384 14 28,637 33,035 15
Ont. 20,218 21,776 8 41,760 53,426 28 61,978 75,202 21
Man. 2,489 2,144 -14 6,036 6,540 8 8,525 8,684 2
Sask. 1,118 1,324 18 1,908 1,512 -21 3,026 2,836 -6
Alta. 10,777 9,720 -10 21,090 11,072 -48 31,867 20,792 -35
B.C.  8,914 8,631 -3 36,247 16,980 -53 45,161 25,611 -43
Canada (10,000+) 51,977 52,997 2 134,712 122,656 -9 186,689 175,653 -6
Canada (All Areas) 61,199 62,973 3 137,644 125,709 -9 198,843 188,683 -5
Metropolitan Areas
Abbotsford-Mission 238 270 13 108 156 44 346 426 23
Barrie 1,173 596 -49 132 204 55 1,305 800 -39
Belleville 369 381 3 348 84 -76 717 465 -35
Brantford 645 129 -80 192 0 -100 837 129 -85
Calgary 4,463 2,748 -38 8,316 6,648 -20 12,779 9,396 -26
Edmonton 4,614 4,232 -8 11,652 2,724 -77 16,266 6,956 -57
Greater Sudbury 140 166 19 48 144 200 188 310 65
Guelph 142 125 -12 1,392 228 -84 1,534 353 -77
Halifax 809 756 -7 3,204 4,056 27 4,013 4,812 20
Hamilton 697 1,375 97 1,896 3,552 87 2,593 4,927 90
Kelowna 410 381 -7 3,540 372 -89 3,950 753 -81
Kingston 164 412 151 144 252 75 308 664 116
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 645 664 3 1,308 3,312 153 1,953 3,976 104
Lethbridge 287 533 86 408 156 -62 695 689 -1
London 539 1,880 249 468 876 87 1,007 2,756 174
Moncton 241 168 -30 264 576 118 505 744 47
Montréal 1,781 2,641 48 10,066 24,512 144 11,847 27,153 129
Oshawa 1,147 1,875 63 2,112 396 -81 3,259 2,271 -30
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,816 3,187 -16 9,180 5,568 -39 12,996 8,755 -33
Gatineau 521 413 -21 1,692 1,536 -9 2,213 1,949 -12
Ottawa 3,295 2,774 -16 7,488 4,032 -46 10,783 6,806 -37
Peterborough 271 200 -26 180 276 53 451 476 6
Québec 614 646 5 1,980 6,240 215 2,594 6,886 165
Regina 358 351 -2 348 432 24 706 783 11
Saguenay 123 141 15 276 384 39 399 525 32
St. Catharines-Niagara 640 417 -35 444 2,448 451 1,084 2,865 164
Saint John 185 144 -22 0 480 ## 185 624 237
St. John's 408 426 4 96 204 113 504 630 25
Saskatoon 576 809 40 1,368 876 -36 1,944 1,685 -13
Sherbrooke 134 490 266 360 1,728 380 494 2,218 349
Thunder Bay 149 139 -7 144 0 -100 293 139 -53
Toronto 5,501 5,531 1 23,652 36,732 55 29,153 42,263 45
Trois-Rivières 143 258 80 24 360 ## 167 618 270
Vancouver 4,782 4,322 -10 19,956 10,068 -50 24,738 14,390 -42
Victoria 859 831 -3 6,168 2,280 -63 7,027 3,111 -56
Windsor 575 676 18 780 372 -52 1,355 1,048 -23
Winnipeg 2,084 1,870 -10 5,760 6,228 8 7,844 8,098 3

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

Date Published: October 9, 2018