Housing starts continue upward trend

The housing starts trend was higher in May; 214,621 compared to 213,435 in April; CMHC reported Thursday.

“Housing starts trended higher in May in Canada’s urban areas”, said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “Row and apartment units led the upward move, while construction has slowed for pricier single- and semi-detached houses.”

The data reveals regional variations with Toronto showing a decrease in starts, especially single-detached and row units but the opposite was true in Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo which saw a rise in single-detached and rowhouses and all housing types trending higher.

Vancouver saw a slight decrease overall but are still on track for 25,000 for this year. Victoria also saw a slower pace while Kelowna, Abbotsford-Mission and other urban areas gained.

Alberta and Saskatchewan show some good increases with Calgary and Edmonton and Regina gaining optimism among builders. Saskatoon remains pressured though with a 25 per cent decline as builders remain cautious about the high inventory of multi-family units.

Quebec’s housing starts are trending lower as they have been since the start of the year. A rising vacancy rate for newly-built rental units is driving this trend.

Hamilton is showing a strong trend for apartments with starts in this sector running at double the year-to-date level of 2016. Single-detached starts are up 16 per cent so far in 2017.

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