Metro Vancouver clocks record-high housing starts

by Gerv Tacadena14 Jan 2020

Metro Vancouver managed to buck the national downtrend in housing starts, ending 2019 with a record-high growth, according to the latest figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Over the year, the metropolitan region recorded 28,141 housing starts, beating its previous record of 27,914 in 2016.

Of the total housing starts, 21,321 were for condo units, 3,426 for single-family homes, 530 for semi-detached dwellings, and 2,864 for townhouses.

Vancouver was the busiest municipality, comprising 6,823 of the total housing starts last year. The table below shows the five most active municipalities for new housing starts in 2019:

According to CMHC, around one in four building commencements were for rental housing. Vancouver also reported the highest number of rental housing starts at 2,716, followed by Surrey at 805, Burnaby at 509, Coquitlam at 481, and North Vancouver at 451.

This strong trend in housing starts, however, is not expected to continue this year.

The growth in starts last year was supported by strong presale activity over the past few years, said Bryan Yu, chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union.

"While the trend in housing starts is elevated, a pullback of about 20% is forecast for 2020. Nevertheless, recent interest rate cuts, rental demand and the federal first-time home buyer Incentive program will support activity," he said in a think piece in Business In Vancouver.

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