Canadian housing starts trended lower in February

0
13
Bob Dugan, Chief Economist, CMHC (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

OTTAWAMarch 8, 2019 /CNW/ – The trend in housing starts was 203,554 units in February 2019, compared to 207,742 units in January 2019, 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 resumed its downward trajectory in February while still remaining above historical average,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Both single-detached and multi-unit dwellings starts trended lower. Higher mortgage rates combined with still-favourable, but less stimulative economic conditions have contributed to softer demand on new home markets in urban centres.”

Housing Starts in Canada – All Areas (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Monthly Highlights

c
The trend measure for February 2019 housing starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) remained steady at a similar level as January. However, compared to the same month last year, the share of single starts decreased while condo starts rose to 77% of all new housing units in the CMA this month. This growth is led by Burnaby’s condo sector, which accounted for 50% of all new construction activities for the month.

Victoria
The February 2019 trend measure for housing starts in Metro Victoria declined from a recent high-water mark in December. However, new condo construction boosted total housing starts above the level reached in the same period last year. The relative affordability of condo units as compared to single detached units has helped bolster demand for new units.

Edmonton 
Housing starts in all segments of the market trended lower in February. While the number of starts and units under construction has been slowing in recent months, the number of completions continue to outpace absorptions, which is contributing to rising inventory levels in the ownership market. The slow economic recovery across Alberta combined with other demand headwinds continue to impact homeownership activity in Edmonton.

Regina 
The total housing starts trended down in the Regina CMA in February after construction activity slowed in both single-detached and multi-unit segments. Actual starts during the second month of 2019 totalled 27 units, compared to 140 units in the same month a year earlier. A series of factors including weaker economic conditions, higher borrowing costs and inclement weather have significantly reduced homebuilding activity so far this year.

Toronto
Total housing starts in the Toronto CMA trended lower in February mainly due to low condominium apartment starts. Row and semi-detached home starts trended higher underlining their popularity among buyers looking for lower priced ground-oriented homes.  Fewer pre-construction sales on single-detached homes throughout 2018 will continue to result in fewer starts in 2019. Conversely, sales of new condominium apartment starts have been strong in 2017 and 2018 and these units will continue to break ground throughout this year at a varying pace.

Hamilton
Row and apartment starts remained high and decreased less than single-detached starts, which were already very sluggish. A wider gap has developed between the number of multi-unit housing starts and single-detached starts because buyers had their purchasing power reduced in the past 6 to 12 months due to rising carrying costs. Pre-construction sales of new single-detached homes during that time, which are now turning into starts, suffered the most of any dwelling type due to their generally higher price tag.

St. Catharines
New home starts in the St. Catharines CMA continued their upward trend in February 2019 to reach a 10-month high, to a large extent thanks to stronger row and apartment starts. The affordability advantage relative to the nearby communities and the future expansion of the rapid transit network to the region continue to support construction of new homes.

Windsor 
The housing starts trend fell for the third month in a row in February. This month’s decline was marked by fewer single-detached and row starts, while apartment starts went in the opposite direction. Due to fewer new listings of lower priced housing in the resale market, there has been growing need for new condominium apartments. This has resulted in the apartment starts trend rising to its hightest level in the past decade.

Sherbrooke
In the first two months of 2019, housing starts in the Sherbrooke CMA were up compared to the same period in 2018. This increase was attributable to both rental housing, particularly seniors’ residences, and freehold (single-detached, semi-detached, row and duplex) homes. Residential construction in the area has continued to be stimulated by the rise in full-time employment, migration and the aging of the population.

Montréal 
Total housing starts in the Montréal area in the first two months of the year were down from the corresponding period in 2018. However, unlike condominium and single-family home building, rental apartment construction has continued to show strong growth. The low vacancy rates, the aging of the population and the greater proportion of young households now opting for the rental market have continued to stimulate rental housing starts.

Halifax
Total housing starts in February expanded by 25% year-over-year as construction on the multiples market in Halifaxremains strong. While single-detached starts were stable compared to the same period last year, continued population growth from both international and interprovincial migration, combined with low vacancy rates are driving elevated levels of rental apartment construction.

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 173,153 units in February, down 16.3% from 206,809 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 18.0% in February to 155,663 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 20.2% to 116,284 units in February while single-detached urban starts decreased by 10.6% to 39,379 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,490 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 TwitterYouTubeLinkedInFacebook and Instagram.

Preliminary Housing Start Data in Centres 10,000 Population and Over

Single-Detached

All Others

Total

February 
2018

February 
2019

%

February 
2018

February 
2019

%

February 
2018

February 
2019

%

Provinces (10,000+)

N.-L.

16

5

-69

2

9

350

18

14

-22

P.E.I.   

6

6

24

0

-100

30

6

-80

N.S.   

83

57

-31

174

196

13

257

253

-2

N.B.   

12

6

-50

1

0

-100

13

6

-54

Atlantic

117

74

-37

201

205

2

318

279

-12

Qc

189

182

-4

2,291

1,753

-23

2,480

1,935

-22

Ont.   

1,315

746

-43

5,902

2,761

-53

7,217

3,507

-51

Man.   

141

125

-11

176

201

14

317

326

3

Sask.   

75

48

-36

146

24

-84

221

72

-67

Alta.   

783

518

-34

924

876

-5

1,707

1,394

-18

Prairies

999

691

-31

1,246

1,101

-12

2,245

1,792

-20

B.C.   

544

442

-19

1,893

2,429

28

2,437

2,871

18

Canada (10,000+)

3,164

2,135

-33

11,533

8,249

-28

z14,697

10,384

-29

Metropolitan Areas

Abbotsford-Mission

24

19

-21

30

100

233

54

119

120

Barrie

54

3

-94

74

72

-3

128

75

-41

Belleville

8

5

-38

0

0

8

5

-38

Brantford

17

14

-18

0

14

##

17

28

65

Calgary

296

207

-30

282

395

40

578

602

4

Edmonton

346

221

-36

487

383

-21

833

604

-27

Greater Sudbury

0

0

0

0

0

0

Guelph

8

6

-25

36

170

372

44

176

300

Halifax

33

30

-9

136

181

33

169

211

25

Hamilton

61

25

-59

96

123

28

157

148

-6

Kelowna

22

15

-32

15

8

-47

37

23

-38

Kingston

8

2

-75

16

0

-100

24

2

-92

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

114

63

-45

105

24

-77

219

87

-60

Lethbridge

33

8

-76

5

44

##

38

52

37

London

111

50

-55

20

23

15

131

73

-44

Moncton

4

2

-50

0

0

4

2

-50

Montréal

114

90

-21

1,947

1,000

-49

2,061

1,090

-47

Oshawa

104

12

-88

6

19

217

110

31

-72

Ottawa-Gatineau

75

87

16

68

727

##

143

814

469

Gatineau

16

8

-50

10

122

##

26

130

400

Ottawa

59

79

34

58

605

##

117

684

485

Peterborough

17

3

-82

0

0

17

3

-82

Québec

10

24

140

42

83

98

52

107

106

Regina

32

18

-44

108

9

-92

140

27

-81

Saguenay

3

2

-33

0

14

##

3

16

433

St. Catharines-Niagara

70

53

-24

68

106

56

138

159

15

Saint John

2

1

-50

0

0

2

1

-50

St. John’s

13

5

-62

2

9

350

15

14

-7

Saskatoon

37

27

-27

33

15

-55

70

42

-40

Sherbrooke

4

8

100

83

291

251

87

299

244

Thunder Bay

0

1

##

0

0

0

1

##

Toronto

394

183

-54

5,283

1,403

-73

5,677

1,586

-72

Trois-Rivières

5

0

-100

2

30

##

7

30

329

Vancouver

273

208

-24

1,347

1,791

33

1,620

1,999

23

Victoria

50

39

-22

261

299

15

311

338

9

Windsor

28

13

-54

43

42

-2

71

55

-23

Winnipeg

127

112

-12

121

192

59

248

304

23

Total

2,497

1,556

-38

10,716

7,567

-29

13,213

9,123

-31

Data 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

January 
2019

February 
2019

%

January 
2019

February 
2019

%

January 
2019

February 
2019

%

Provinces (10,000+)

N.L.

381

260

-32

50

113

126

431

373

-13

P.E.I.   

100

309

209

540

0

-100

640

309

-52

N.S.   

1,493

1,240

-17

1,939

2,479

28

3,432

3,719

8

N.B.   

457

455

0

855

13

-98

1,312

468

-64

Qc  

4,730

5,886

24

36,219

29,019

-20

40,949

34,905

-15

Ont.   

16,384

13,863

-15

55,831

41,879

-25

72,215

55,742

-23

Man.   

1,980

1,931

-2

3,636

2,412

-34

5,616

4,343

-23

Sask.   

1,259

893

-29

816

288

-65

2,075

1,181

-43

Alta.   

9,397

7,329

-22

13,288

10,747

-19

22,685

18,076

-20

B.C.   

7,878

7,213

-8

32,529

29,334

-10

40,407

36,547

-10

Canada (10,000+)

44,059

39,379

-11

145,703

116,284

-20

189,762

155,663

-18

Canada (All Areas)

56,444

51,997

-8

150,364

121,153

-19

206,809

173,153

-16

Metropolitan Areas

Abbotsford-Mission

431

306

-29

384

1,200

213

815

1,506

85

Barrie

358

171

-52

0

864

##

358

1,035

189

Belleville

394

300

-24

0

0

394

300

-24

Brantford

150

236

57

0

168

##

150

404

169

Calgary

3,794

3,004

-21

5,172

4,740

-8

8,966

7,744

-14

Edmonton

3,768

3,187

-15

6,948

4,596

-34

10,716

7,783

-27

Greater Sudbury

93

137

47

24

0

-100

117

137

17

Guelph

195

83

-57

228

2,040

##

423

2,123

402

Halifax

994

800

-20

1,692

2,172

28

2,686

2,972

11

Hamilton

476

371

-22

3,624

1,476

-59

4,100

1,847

-55

Kelowna

992

233

-77

3,216

96

-97

4,208

329

-92

Kingston

625

73

-88

1,764

0

-100

2,389

73

-97

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

1,374

990

-28

960

288

-70

2,334

1,278

-45

Lethbridge

596

92

-85

84

528

##

680

620

-9

London

1,065

895

-16

2,712

276

-90

3,777

1,171

-69

Moncton

3

166

##

24

0

-100

27

166

##

Montréal

2,254

2,109

-6

17,384

12,774

-27

19,638

14,883

-24

Oshawa

552

349

-37

228

228

780

577

-26

Ottawa-Gatineau

1,906

2,060

8

2,052

8,724

325

3,958

10,784

172

Gatineau

59

210

256

744

1,464

97

803

1,674

108

Ottawa

1,847

1,850

0

1,308

7,260

455

3,155

9,110

189

Peterborough

130

114

-12

0

0

130

114

-12

Québec

423

637

51

1,128

996

-12

1,551

1,633

5

Regina

277

272

-2

420

108

-74

697

380

-45

Saguenay

124

126

2

0

168

##

124

294

137

St. Catharines-Niagara

1,192

770

-35

648

1,272

96

1,840

2,042

11

Saint John

118

80

-32

444

0

-100

562

80

-86

St. John’s

347

242

-30

24

108

350

371

350

-6

Saskatoon

909

515

-43

396

180

-55

1,305

695

-47

Sherbrooke

122

371

204

0

3,492

##

122

3,863

##

Thunder Bay

5

1,428

##

0

0

5

1,428

##

Toronto

3,846

3,377

-12

35,304

16,836

-52

39,150

20,213

-48

Trois-Rivières

94

7

-93

216

360

67

310

367

18

Vancouver

2,924

3,514

20

22,404

21,492

-4

25,328

25,006

-1

Victoria

488

528

8

2,424

3,588

48

2,912

4,116

41

Windsor

604

325

-46

144

504

250

748

829

11

Winnipeg

1,755

1,665

-5

3,528

2,304

-35

5,283

3,969

-25

Data based on 2016 Census Definitions.

Source:  Market Analysis Centre, CMHC

## not calculable / extreme value 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.