Canadian Housing Starts – August 9, 2017

Canadian housing starts increased 4 per cent in July to 222,324 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts was also higher at217,550 units SAAR.

New home construction in BC was one of the main contributors to the overall increase in Canadian housing starts. Total housing starts in BC increased 20 per cent on a monthly basis to 45,597 units SAAR and were up 19 per cent on a year-over-year basis.  Single detached starts fell 3 per cent month-over-month and were 1 per cent lower year-over-year. Multiple unit starts rose close to 30 per cent on both a monthly and year-over-year basis.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC:

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA bounced back from a decline in June, rising 13 per cent year-over-year in July. The increase was primarily due to an 18 per cent jump in multiple unit starts, with most new construction activity taking place around Burnaby, Coquitlam and New Westminster.
  • In the Victoria CMA market, housing starts more than doubled year-over-year due to a more than 300 per cent increase in multiple unit starts. This represents a much needed boost to the supply of housing in Victoria over the medium term but will do little to address current low inventory levels.
  • New home construction in the Kelowna CMA was down 34 per cent year-over-year and declined 41 per cent on a monthly basis. The decline was likely the result of relative inactivity due to wildfires.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA more than doubled for the second consecutive month as developers broke ground on 157 new multiple unit starts.