Housing starts as multifamily units continue to dominate

by Steve Randall11 Jul 2018

The seasonally-adjusted six-month moving trend for Canadian housing starts was up in June, rising to 222,041 from 216,701 in May.

CMHC data shows that the standalone monthly SAAR of starts in June was 248,138, a sharp rise from the 193,902 in May as urban starts jumped 29.9% driven by a 46.4% rise in multifamily starts.

"The national trend in housing starts increased in June, reflecting a jump in the SAAR of multi-unit dwellings in urban centres in June to a historical high," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "Notably, the national inventory of newly completed and unabsorbed multi-unit dwellings has remained below its 10-year historical average so far in 2018, indicating that demand for this type of unit has absorbed increased supply."

Vancouver lower, Toronto sets new record
While Vancouver’s housing starts trended lower in June as fewer multifamily units got underway, Toronto saw housing starts reach a 2-year high across the CMA, mostly due to apartments which reached a 30-year high for the month.

Elsewhere, multifamily units drove Victoria’s starts to a half-year point 45% higher than in 2017; Calgary, Winnipeg, and St Catharines all reported fewer starts.

There were also gains for Halifax, picking up after a slow start to 2018.


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