Housing starts remain above 210,000
June 12 2018
While national housing starts trended lower in May than in April, the seasonally-adjusted trend points to 216,382 new homes to be built this year, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
"In May, the national trend in housing starts declined following several months of stability," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "This reflects a decline in multi-unit urban starts that leaves them close to their 10-year average following several months of historically elevated levels."
A handful of markets saw an increase in May housing starts including Metro Vancouver where condo and townhouse starts are up 9 per cent this year; Langford, on Vancouver Island, where total housing starts have increased 34 per cent in the first five months of 2018 compared with the same time last year; Brantford, Ontario, which saw an uptick in detached house starts; Kingston, where a strong resale market is encouraging higher new home construction; and Sherbrooke, Quebec, though most of the starts there are rental apartments.
Total housing starts in Greater Toronto trended lower in May, driven by a decline in apartment and townhome starts. A better supplied resale market and higher borrowing costs continued to weigh down on demand for new homes—particularly for single-detached units, CMHC notes.
Housing starts in New Brunswick dropped 10 per cent in May compared to May 2017—continuing the trend of lower housing starts so far in 2018. A significant decline in multiples has contributed to a 26 per cent decline in New Brunswick's total housing starts year-to-date.
CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly seasonally- adjusted annual rate housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates.
By that measure, multiple-family urban starts decreased by 16.4 per cent to 119,811 units in May while single-detached urban starts increased by 2 per cent to 58,390 units.
Total rural starts were estimated at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 17,412 units.