housing market

CMHC: Canadian housing starts up in July

Monday, August 12, 2019

Canadian housing starts trended positively between June and July 2019. Recent stats from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) indicate housing starts rose from 205,765 units to 208,970 units within the one-month span, with notable activity recorded in the multi-residential sector.

“The national trend in housing starts increased in July, despite a decrease in the level of SAAR activity from June,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “High levels of activity in apartment and row starts in urban centres in recent months continued to be reflected in the high level of the total starts trend in July.”

CMHC’s report highlighted activities over several key markets. They include:

  • Toronto: Lower demand for multi-unit starts resulted in a lower trend for housing starts in July in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Nevertheless, the pre-construction sales of multi-unit homes, particularly condominium apartments, have been strong for the last few years and will break ground at a varying pace throughout the year, and strong demand for relatively affordable higher-density housing continues to persist among homebuyers in Toronto.
  • Ottawa: Housing starts grew 5.3% from the same period last year with condominium apartments experiencing the strongest growth.
  • Vancouver: Housing starts continued to trend higher in July with more than 85% being multi-unit within Vancouver and Surrey. Overall, the continuous strengthening of economic fundamentals supported a steady growth of 25% in the year-to-date starts in the region between 2018 and 2019.
  • Winnipeg: The trend in total housing starts decreased in July compared to the previous month, mainly due to decreases in multi-family starts as both row and apartment starts trended lower. Single-family starts trended higher, but were not enough to offset the decreases in the multi-family units.
  • Montréal: Housing starts between January and July 2019 were up compared to the same period last year. This gain was solely attributable to rental housing construction, as condominium and single-family home starts recorded decreases.

CMHC reports the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts for all of Canada was down to 222,013 units in July, down 9.6% from 245,455 units in June.

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