Housing starts dip but are there stronger intentions ahead?

by Steve Randall11 Feb 2020

Canadian housing starts were slightly lower last month on a 6-month trend basis compared to December 2019.

CMHC figures show that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts was 210,915 in January, down from 212,212 in December while the monthly standalone figure for the month was up 8.8% to 213,224 units in January from 195,892 units in December.

"The national trend in housing starts essentially held steady in January." said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "Lower-trending starts in Vancouver were partly offset by stronger activity in Montréal, while the trend in Toronto was stable at the start of the year."

The SAAR of urban starts increased by 9.8% in January to 202,407 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 13.6% to 155,140 units in January while single-detached urban starts decreased by 0.9% to 47,267 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 10,817 units.

Multifamily permits increase
Meanwhile, Canadian municipalities issued multifamily building permits totaling $2.9 billion in December, a 15.9% increase mostly due to increases in Montreal and Vancouver.

Single-family permits decreased 3.2% to $2.2 billion, with the largest decline in Ontario (-$76 million).

The value of commercial permits rose 19.7% to $2.0 billion.

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