Canadian housing starts essentially held steady in March

The trend in housing starts was 202,279 units in March 2019, compared to 202,039 units in February 2019, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

“The national trend in housing starts was essentially unchanged in March, remaining near its historical average,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “The trend has been very stable since the final quarter of 2018, following a period of steady declines from the historically elevated levels registered in recent years. Higher mortgage rates combined with still-favourable, but less stimulative economic conditions have contributed to moderation in demand for new homes in urban centres.”


The Toronto CMA total housing starts trend rose in March as higher trending condominium apartment starts offset the decline in low-rise starts. Rising home-ownership costs dampened pre-construction sales for low-rise homes in 2018. Conversely, condominium apartment pre-construction sales remained strong in the last two years given their relative affordability. As a result, condominium apartment starts continue to dominate Toronto CMA new housing construction in 2019.

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of Canada’s housing market. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 192,527 units in March, up 15.8 per cent from 166,290 units in February. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 17 per cent in March to 178,033 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 18.6 percent to 135,894 units in March while single-detached urban starts increased by 12.1 per cent to 42,139 units.

 

Preliminary Housing Start Data in Centres 10,000 Population and Over

Single-Detached

All Others

Total

March 2018

March 2019

%

March 2018

March 2019

%

March 2018

March 2019

%

Provinces (10,000+)

N.-L.

13

6

-54

93

1

-99

106

7

-93

P.E.I.   

12

2

-83

6

0

-100

18

2

-89

N.S.   

99

51

-48

25

304

##

124

355

186

N.B.   

7

5

-29

3

2

-33

10

7

-30

Atlantic

131

64

-51

127

307

142

258

371

44

Qc

388

384

-1

2,449

3,502

43

2,837

3,886

37

Ont.   

1,458

833

-43

3,435

3,408

-1

4,893

4,241

-13

Man.   

180

161

-11

371

246

-34

551

407

-26

Sask.   

79

51

-35

24

51

113

103

102

-1

Alta.   

801

534

-33

1,091

718

-34

1,892

1,252

-34

Prairies

1,060

746

-30

1,486

1,015

-32

2,546

1,761

-31

B.C.   

666

517

-22

3,080

2,080

-32

3,746

2,597

-31

Canada (10,000+)

3,703

2,544

-31

10,577

10,312

-3

14,280

12,856

-10

Metropolitan Areas 

Abbotsford-Mission

19

23

21

79

125

58

98

148

51

Barrie

35

5

-86

26

8

-69

61

13

-79

Belleville

13

20

54

6

0

-100

19

20

5

Brantford

32

44

38

4

8

100

36

52

44

Calgary

306

186

-39

525

334

-36

831

520

-37

Edmonton

368

260

-29

280

260

-7

648

520

-20

Greater Sudbury

0

0

0

0

0

0

Guelph

10

13

30

60

0

-100

70

13

-81

Halifax

41

39

-5

16

299

##

57

338

493

Hamilton

19

41

116

58

136

134

77

177

130

Kelowna

53

22

-58

108

21

-81

161

43

-73

Kingston

24

3

-88

4

33

##

28

36

29

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

102

54

-47

319

63

-80

421

117

-72

Lethbridge

26

16

-38

15

26

73

41

42

2

London

122

74

-39

23

115

400

145

189

30

Moncton

2

3

50

2

0

-100

4

3

-25

Montréal

154

143

-7

1,475

2,434

65

1,629

2,577

58

Oshawa

105

26

-75

66

32

-52

171

58

-66

Ottawa-Gatineau

201

169

-16

241

551

129

442

720

63

Gatineau

23

37

61

32

406

##

55

443

##

Ottawa

178

132

-26

209

145

-31

387

277

-28

Peterborough

8

18

125

0

40

##

8

58

##

Québec

71

43

-39

482

181

-62

553

224

-59

Regina

36

18

-50

6

39

##

42

57

36

Saguenay

6

4

-33

16

2

-88

22

6

-73

St. Catharines-Niagara

45

110

144

120

133

11

165

243

47

Saint John

3

1

-67

0

0

3

1

-67

St. John’s

10

4

-60

93

0

-100

103

4

-96

Saskatoon

38

31

-18

13

8

-38

51

39

-24

Sherbrooke

28

45

61

118

279

136

146

324

122

Thunder Bay

0

0

0

0

0

0

Toronto

501

98

-80

2,376

2,522

6

2,877

2,620

-9

Trois-Rivières

9

6

-33

10

23

130

19

29

53

Vancouver

326

263

-19

2,319

1,443

-38

2,645

1,706

-36

Victoria

50

51

2

254

126

-50

304

177

-42

Windsor

22

16

-27

8

18

125

30

34

13

Winnipeg

155

135

-13

335

197

-41

490

332

-32

Total

2,940

1,984

-33

9,457

9,456

0

12,397

11,440

-8

Data based on 2016 Census Definitions.

Source:  Market Analysis Centre, CMHC

## not calculable / extreme value

Preliminary Housing Start Data – Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rates (SAAR)

Single-Detached

All Others

Total

February 2019

March 2019

%

February 2019

March 2019

%

February 2019

March 2019

%

Provinces (10,000+)

N.L.

346

373

8

113

43

-62

459

416

-9

P.E.I.   

293

81

-72

0

0

293

81

-72

N.S.   

948

924

-3

2,381

3,732

57

3,329

4,656

40

N.B.   

506

522

3

13

156

##

519

678

31

Qc  

6,072

6,165

2

27,342

50,129

83

33,414

56,294

68

Ont.   

12,473

14,955

20

41,269

43,972

7

53,742

58,927

10

Man.   

2,068

2,166

5

2,892

2,952

2

4,960

5,118

3

Sask.   

896

900

0

336

612

82

1,232

1,512

23

Alta.   

7,184

8,756

22

10,917

9,102

-17

18,101

17,858

-1

B.C.   

6,818

7,297

7

29,314

25,196

-14

36,132

32,493

-10

Canada (10,000+)

37,604

42,139

12

114,577

135,894

19

152,181

178,033

17

Canada (All Areas)

47,930

52,853

10

118,360

139,675

18

166,290

192,527

16

Metropolitan Areas

Abbotsford-Mission

303

370

22

1,200

1,500

25

1,503

1,870

24

Barrie

169

212

25

864

96

-89

1,033

308

-70

Belleville

309

643

108

0

0

309

643

108

Brantford

253

378

49

168

96

-43

421

474

13

Calgary

2,973

2,899

-2

4,740

4,008

-15

7,713

6,907

-10

Edmonton

3,153

3,778

20

4,596

3,120

-32

7,749

6,898

-11

Greater Sudbury

133

73

-45

0

0

133

73

-45

Guelph

82

174

112

2,040

0

-100

2,122

174

-92

Halifax

797

817

3

2,172

3,588

65

2,969

4,405

48

Hamilton

472

495

5

1,476

1,632

11

1,948

2,127

9

Kelowna

223

335

50

96

252

163

319

587

84

Kingston

70

65

-7

0

396

##

70

461

##

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

849

640

-25

288

756

163

1,137

1,396

23

Lethbridge

93

264

184

528

312

-41

621

576

-7

London

910

1,157

27

276

1,380

400

1,186

2,537

114

Moncton

174

284

63

0

0

174

284

63

Montréal

2,149

2,327

8

12,757

28,971

127

14,906

31,298

110

Oshawa

361

355

-2

228

384

68

589

739

25

Ottawa-Gatineau

2,648

3,087

17

8,724

6,612

-24

11,372

9,699

-15

Gatineau

263

618

135

1,464

4,872

233

1,727

5,490

218

Ottawa

2,385

2,469

4

7,260

1,740

-76

9,645

4,209

-56

Peterborough

103

815

##

0

480

##

103

1,295

##

Québec

627

547

-13

996

2,172

118

1,623

2,719

68

Regina

269

236

-12

108

468

333

377

704

87

Saguenay

127

136

7

168

24

-86

295

160

-46

St. Catharines-Niagara

849

1,953

130

1,272

1,596

25

2,121

3,549

67

Saint John

79

88

11

0

0

79

88

11

St. John’s

239

228

-5

108

0

-100

347

228

-34

Saskatoon

531

625

18

180

96

-47

711

721

1

Sherbrooke

405

492

21

3,492

3,348

-4

3,897

3,840

-1

Thunder Bay

1,435

127

-91

0

0

1,435

127

-91

Toronto

3,331

1,936

-42

16,836

30,264

80

20,167

32,200

60

Trois-Rivières

7

125

##

360

276

-23

367

401

9

Vancouver

3,530

3,644

3

21,492

17,316

-19

25,022

20,960

-16

Victoria

537

572

7

3,588

1,512

-58

4,125

2,084

-49

Windsor

327

399

22

504

216

-57

831

615

-26

Winnipeg

1,663

1,668

0

2,304

2,364

3

3,967

4,032

2

Data based on 2016 Census Definitions.

Source:  Market Analysis Centre, CMHC

 

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