Housing starts jump to 10-year high

There was a jump in the trend measure of Canadian housing starts in November with many major markets showing an increase.

CMHC figures reveal that the 6-month trend was up by almost 10,000 compared to October, to a seasonally adjusted annualised rate of 226,270 units.

“The trend in housing starts reached its highest level in almost 10 years this November, reflecting a second consecutive increase in multiple starts,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “This largely reflects construction of multiple units in Toronto, where evidence of overbuilding is low due to the decreasing inventory of completed and unabsorbed multiple units and strong demand.”

Toronto’s rise in starts for condos continues to be influenced by a market shift away from higher priced single-family homes. CMHC expects a further rise in condo starts due to high levels of pre-construction sales in recent years.

In contrast, starts in the Vancouver CMA were lower in November as the construction sector’s full capacity meant a pullback in apartment starts.

Although the City of Vancouver, Richmond and the North Shore have recorded lower year-over-year starts, there has been increased activity in Burnaby and New Westminster.

There were notable gains for multifamily starts in St. John’s with millennials and first-time buyers choosing for lower-priced options.

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo and Guelph also saw higher starts, and London recorded one of the highest ever number of starts for the month of November.

The standalone SAAR increased by almost 30,000 units to 252,184 with urban starts up 14.4% to 235,412 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 16.9% to 175,016 units and single-detached urban starts increased by 7.5% to 60,396 units.

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