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National housing starts hold steady with some surprises

September 22, 2017

Regina new homes

Canadian housing starts hit a pace of 219,447 units in August, up from 217,993 a month earlier, according to seasonally-adjusted annual data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), but the data held some surprises. Smaller centres, for instance, are seeing bigger increases than the normally trend-leading cities of Toronto and Vancouver.
Toronto’s August starts were up 8 per cent and Vancouver’s increase was even lower compared to July. But Halifax reported a 61 per cent increase in single-detached starts in August from year earlier, with multiple family starts roaring ahead by 59 per cent.
“With a number of projects in the pipeline to start before year-end, strength in the multiples market in Halifax will continue well into 2018,” CMHC noted.
In Kingston, O.N. multi-family starts to the end of August were almost double the total from the first eight months of 2016. Kingston apartment starts this year are at the second highest level in more than ten years.
Kelowna, B.C. is also posting big numbers, but largely in the rental sector. So far in 2017, there have been a total of 1,366 rental units started, which is the most in any eight-month period in Kelowna’s history.
In Regina, actual year-to-date total starts were up 37 per cent in August at 1,420 units, compared to 1,039 a year earlier.
The overall national pace appears to be strengthening, according to CMHC’s August data.
“Canada’s trend in housing starts was above the 200,000 unit mark for the eighth consecutive month,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Demand for new homes remains strong, consistent with consumer confidence which reached its highest level in ten years.”


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