Housing starts trend higher

The 6-month trend of Canadian housing starts was up in April, reaching 213,768 units compared to 210,702 in March.

CMHC figures show that the standalone seasonally-adjusted annual rate was 214,098, down from 225,305 in March with urban starts down 15.3 per cent.

“New housing construction increased in Canada, with seasonally adjusted data exceeding 200,000 units for five months in a row”, said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “The increase in the trend was mainly due to apartment construction in British Columbia and Québec, which was partly offset by a decline in Ontario’s multiple starts.”

In Toronto, there was an increase in low-rise starts but a fall in the apartments sector; overall starts remained stable as demand for new homes continues to be accelerated by low supply of resale units.

Strong demand in Metro Vancouver has led to an uptick in starts, the first rise in the trend for four months.

There was a significant jump in new multiple starts for Halifax with a 169 per cent rise compared to April 2016.

Quebec saw a lower overall trend in housing starts but there was a 30 per cent increase for the first four months of 2017 in urban centres with building in Montreal and Quebec areas showing particular strength in the rental unit sector.

It was a similar story in Gatineau where seniors’ housing was the driver of higher year-to-date starts.

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