OTTAWA, March 8, 2018 — The trend in housing starts was 225,276 units in February 2018, compared to 224,572 units in January 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 has been very stable since November 2017, masking offsetting trends for multi-unit and single-detached dwellings,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Multi-unit starts have trended higher in recent months in most major urban centres while single-detached starts have trended lower.”

Monthly highlights

Vancouver

February housing starts in the Vancouver census metropolitan area (CMA) continued to build on the increase in construction activity in the previous month, leading to a strong start to the year in 2018. The North Shore, Burnaby,  and the City of Vancouver were the main contributors to the increase with a number of condominium and rental multi-family units getting underway.

Victoria

The trend measure for housing starts in the Victoria CMA moved upward significantly in February as a result of a large number of multi-unit dwellings getting underway, particularly new apartment rentals and condominiums. Demand for multi-unit housing of all types remains high in the Victoria area as inventories of unsold units and rental vacancies remain low.

Calgary

Total housing starts in the Calgary CMA trended lower in February 2018, compared to the previous month as the relative pace of starts declined from January. The trend in multiple construction, which was relatively strong in the second half of 2017, has moderated. Elevated apartment inventories continue to slow the pace of construction.

Winnipeg

Housing starts continued to moderate in the Winnipeg CMA in February as the trend in total housing starts moved lower. The decline in total housing starts was largely concentrated in the multi-family segment, with rental apartment units posting a considerable decrease compared to last year. Despite strong levels of employment and balanced market conditions, new housing construction has been impacted by an elevated level of production last year.

Oshawa

The pace of single-detached housing starts in February 2018 was the highest over an 11-month period. Conversely, multi-unit housing starts slowed in February following a surge in the second half of 2017. Solid demand for more affordable housing relative to neighbouring Toronto CMA, continues to stimulate new home construction activity in Oshawa.

Toronto

Housing starts in Toronto CMA trended higher in February on the back of a record number of apartment starts. Elevated prices and affordability concerns in the low-rise market have resulted in significant increases in condominium apartment construction. Low-rise home starts continued to trend lower, as increased supply in the resale market has resulted in less spillover demand for pre-construction units.

Montréal

The surge in the construction of rental apartment units continues in the Montréal area, with 1,400 units started since the beginning of the year, about three times more than in the same period last year. For now, the focus is almost entirely on conventional rental apartment construction, but in the context of an aging population, several seniors’ residences are expected to be started in the Montréal area by the end of the year.

Trois-Rivières

In February 2018, housing starts continued to trend downward in the Trois-Rivières CMA. With just 13 starts in the first two months of 2018, this was the slowest start to a year since 1999. The high inventory of unabsorbed housing units and low population growth are contributing to reducing the need for new homes on the Trois-Rivières market.

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 229,737 units in February, up from 215,260 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 7.1% in February to 211,211 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 15% to 154,535 units in February while single-detached urban starts decreased by 9.8% to 56,676 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,526 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
416-218-3320
aritacco@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Additional data is available upon request.

housing_start_in_Canada

Preliminary Housing Start Data in Centres 10,000 Population and Over
  Single-Detached All Others Total
Feb. 2017 Feb. 2018 % Feb. 2017 Feb. 2018 % Feb. 2017 Feb. 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)
N.-L. 19 13 -32 14 2 -86 33 15 -55
P.E.I. 5 6 20 8 24 200 13 30 131
N.S. 56 51 -9 293 158 -46 349 209 -40
N.B. 6 11 83 1 0 -100 7 11 57
Atlantic 86 81 -6 316 184 -42 402 265 -34
Qc 230 187 -19 1,918 2,250 17 2,148 2,437 13
Ont. 1,711 1,284 -25 3,122 5,937 90 4,833 7,221 49
Man. 195 149 -24 359 153 -57 554 302 -45
Sask. 120 77 -36 152 154 1 272 231 -15
Alta. 891 798 -10 1,035 895 -14 1,926 1,693 -12
Prairies 1,206 1,024 -15 1,546 1,202 -22 2,752 2,226 -19
B.C. 614 532 -13 1,558 1,842 18 2,172 2,374 9
Canada (10,000+) 3,847 3,108 -19 8,460 11,415 35 12,307 14,523 18
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 11 24 118 7 30 329 18 54 200
Barrie 40 54 35 139 74 -47 179 128 -28
Belleville 6 8 33 2 0 -100 8 8 -
Brantford 6 17 183 8 0 -100 14 17 21
Calgary 296 296 - 212 282 33 508 578 14
Edmonton 348 346 -1 758 487 -36 1,106 833 -25
Greater Sudbury 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 -
Guelph 16 8 -50 105 36 -66 121 44 -64
Halifax 35 33 -6 267 136 -49 302 169 -44
Hamilton 70 61 -13 277 96 -65 347 157 -55
Kelowna 68 22 -68 154 15 -90 222 37 -83
Kingston 12 8 -33 0 16 ## 12 24 100
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 95 114 20 57 105 84 152 219 44
Lethbridge 55 33 -40 6 5 -17 61 38 -38
London 120 111 -8 93 20 -78 213 131 -38
Moncton 2 4 100 0 0 - 2 4 100
Montréal 123 114 -7 1,528 1,947 27 1,651 2,061 25
Oshawa 115 104 -10 19 6 -68 134 110 -18
Ottawa-Gatineau 141 75 -47 546 68 -88 687 143 -79
Gatineau 15 16 7 90 10 -89 105 26 -75
Ottawa 126 59 -53 456 58 -87 582 117 -80
Peterborough 6 17 183 0 0 - 6 17 183
Québec 29 10 -66 81 42 -48 110 52 -53
Regina 43 32 -26 131 108 -18 174 140 -20
Saguenay 3 3 - 2 0 -100 5 3 -40
St. Catharines-Niagara 86 70 -19 54 68 26 140 138 -1
Saint John 2 2 - 0 0 - 2 2 -
St. John's 16 13 -19 0 2 ## 16 15 -6
Saskatoon 68 37 -46 20 33 65 88 70 -20
Sherbrooke 9 4 -56 39 83 113 48 87 81
Thunder Bay 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 -
Toronto 790 394 -50 1,751 5,283 202 2,541 5,677 123
Trois-Rivières 2 5 150 0 2 ## 2 7 250
Vancouver 280 273 -3 1,169 1,347 15 1,449 1,620 12
Victoria 83 50 -40 127 261 106 210 311 48
Windsor 22 28 27 13 43 231 35 71 103
Winnipeg 158 127 -20 294 121 -59 452 248 -45
Total 3,156 2,497 -21 7,859 10,716 36 11,015 13,213 20

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
Jan. 2018 Feb. 2018 % Jan. 2018 Feb. 2018 % Jan. 2018 Feb. 2018 %
Provinces (10,000+)  
N.L. 611 637 4 315 29 -91 926 666 -28
P.E.I. 166 321 93 48 288 ## 214 609 185
N.S. 1,471 1,285 -13 1,453 2,017 39 2,924 3,302 13
N.B. 657 743 13 237 13 -95 894 756 -15
Qc 6,469 5,826 -10 30,140 37,067 23 36,609 42,893 17
Ont. 25,624 24,758 -3 56,097 78,080 39 81,721 102,838 26
Man. 2,492 2,289 -8 1,404 1,836 31 3,896 4,125 6
Sask. 1,448 1,420 -2 3,996 1,848 -54 5,444 3,268 -40
Alta. 12,295 10,983 -11 10,799 11,149 3 23,094 22,132 -4
B.C. 11,574 8,414 -27 29,869 22,208 -26 41,443 30,622 -26
Canada (10,000+) 62,807 56,676 -10 134,358 154,535 15 197,165 211,211 7
Canada (All Areas) 76,509 70,881 -7 138,752 158,857 14 215,260 229,737 7
Metropolitan Areas                  
Abbotsford-Mission 580 413 -29 240 360 50 820 773 -6
Barrie 391 2,226 469 816 888 9 1,207 3,114 158
Belleville 464 477 3 696 0 -100 1,160 477 -59
Brantford 750 266 -65 24 0 -100 774 266 -66
Calgary 4,893 4,091 -16 3,912 3,384 -13 8,805 7,475 -15
Edmonton 5,163 4,863 -6 5,052 5,844 16 10,215 10,707 5
Greater Sudbury 181 124 -31 0 0 - 181 124 -31
Guelph 60 121 102 2,400 432 -82 2,460 553 -78
Halifax 988 901 -9 1,248 1,632 31 2,236 2,533 13
Hamilton 798 1,151 44 1,632 1,152 -29 2,430 2,303 -5
Kelowna 776 313 -60 612 180 -71 1,388 493 -64
Kingston 317 271 -15 144 192 33 461 463 0
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 2,236 1,779 -20 6,804 1,260 -81 9,040 3,039 -66
Lethbridge 448 418 -7 144 60 -58 592 478 -19
London 1,439 1,916 33 96 240 150 1,535 2,156 40
Moncton 280 316 13 0 0 - 280 316 13
Montréal 2,612 2,599 0 9,596 24,285 153 12,208 26,884 120
Oshawa 1,323 1,586 20 768 72 -91 2,091 1,658 -21
Ottawa-Gatineau 3,252 2,548 -22 6,180 816 -87 9,432 3,364 -64
Gatineau 466 546 17 2,544 120 -95 3,010 666 -78
Ottawa 2,786 2,002 -28 3,636 696 -81 6,422 2,698 -58
Peterborough 543 626 15 0 0 - 543 626 15
Québec 685 262 -62 2,652 504 -81 3,337 766 -77
Regina 506 519 3 3,264 1,296 -60 3,770 1,815 -52
Saguenay 285 201 -29 0 0 - 285 201 -29
St. Catharines-Niagara 967 1,214 26 792 816 3 1,759 2,030 15
Saint John 162 130 -20 0 0 - 162 130 -20
St. John's 566 572 1 120 24 -80 686 596 -13
Saskatoon 749 680 -9 648 396 -39 1,397 1,076 -23
Sherbrooke 195 211 8 216 996 361 411 1,207 194
Thunder Bay 60 139 132 0 0 - 60 139 132
Toronto 8,736 7,635 -13 31,260 63,396 103 39,996 71,031 78
Trois-Rivières 40 413 ## 60 24 -60 100 437 337
Vancouver 6,167 4,175 -32 26,052 16,164 -38 32,219 20,339 -37
Victoria 837 662 -21 540 3,132 480 1,377 3,794 176
Windsor 475 603 27 84 516 ## 559 1,119 100
Winnipeg 2,032 1,872 -8 1,080 1,452 34 3,112 3,324 7

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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