Construction activity in the multi-residential space accelerates

by Ephraim Vecina09 May 2019

Extensive apartment complexes and large-scale mixed-use developments alike, especially in Vancouver, helped multi-residential construction activity boost national housing starts to a robust level in April.

“Higher-trending multi-unit starts offset a continued decline in the trend for single starts, in urban areas,” Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation chief economist Bob Dugan explained.

“The increase in the trend of multi-unit starts reflects a strong recovery in multi-unit SAAR activity in March and April from consecutive declines at the end of 2018 and the first months of 2019.”

According to the Crown corporation’s latest report, the six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of starts was at 206,103 units last month. This considerably exceeded the 202,420 units in March.

While overall starts were weaker by 2% on an annual basis, Vancouver’s multi-family starts intensified by 3% over April 2018.

“Fifty-three per cent of these projects are located in the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby. As the reduced sales activities continued to allow listings to accumulate, developers have started to focus more on existing projects rather than new construction,” CMHC stated.

Inversely, Toronto suffered from a smaller number of starts last month, brought about by sluggish activity in both the condo and the single-detached segments.

“Strong pre-construction condominium apartment sales [in Toronto] over the past two years are likely to be reflected in future housing starts. Declining sales of pre-construction units of single-detached homes during the past year will likely mean fewer starts over the coming months.”


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