Housing starts trend remained stable in April

by Steve Randall09 May 2018

The six-month trend of Canadian housing starts was fairly flat in April with 225,696 units, down slightly from the 226,942 measure in March.

CMHC says that the standalone monthly seasonally-adjusted annual rate of housing starts for all areas was 214,379 units in April, down from 225,459 units in March.

The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 4.7% in April to 198,090 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 2.7% to 141,032 units in April while single-detached urban starts decreased by 9.3% to 57,058 units.

"In April, the national trend in housing starts remained stable at historically elevated levels, with lower starts of single-detached dwellings offsetting higher starts of multi-unit dwellings," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's Chief Economist. "Notably, the national inventory of newly completed and unabsorbed multi-unit dwellings has been stable over the same period, indicating that demand for this type of unit has absorbed increased supply."

Vancouver, Kelowna, Montreal among the highlights
Several markets saw notable increases in housing starts last month.

Demand for homes in Vancouver remains strong and builders continue to service that demand. Single-family and multifamily starts both increased with the City of Vancouver and the North Shore leading.

There were significant increases for Kelowna and Montreal. Multifamily units and rental properties were a key factor in the rise in starts in both areas.

Little changed in the Toronto market with starts subdued by falling sales as prices remain elevated. However, demand for the relatively affordable condos mean this sector has seen its highest level of activity in 40 years during the first quarter of 2018.

London and Kingston both saw increased starts, while Saskatoon (-36%) and New Brunswick (-41%) both saw declines in starts year-to-date.

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