Canadian Housing Starts

July 10, 2019


Canadian housing starts decreased by 13 percent on a monthly basis in May to 202,337 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). This decline follows a strong rebound reported in the previous month. The trend in Canadian housing starts was down, averaging 202,000 units SAAR over the past six months, which is still a robust trend. 

In BC, total housing starts were up 8 percent on a monthly basis to 53,352 units SAAR. Total starts were up 31 percent compared to May of last year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were up 12 percent to46,020 units SAAR, while single-detached starts fell by 11 percent to 7,332 units SAAR.
Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC: 

  • Total starts in Vancouver were up 25 percent on a monthly basis in May at 42,667 units SAAR, as multiple unit starts rose by 29 percent from the previous month. Compared to last year in May, housing starts in Vancouver were up 60 percent. 

  • In Victoria, housing starts were down by 57 percent on a monthly basis to 2,311 units SAAR, mostly due to a decline from last month’s spike in multiple unit starts. Compared to a year ago, housing starts are down 28 percent.

  • In Kelowna, starts increased by 28 percent on a monthly basis, though were still relatively low at just 1,025 units SAAR. Year-over-year, total starts were down by 72 percent as inventory of unsold units accumulate, constraining further new construction projects. This is the risk we outlined when the provincial speculation tax was introduced.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission were up by 76 percent in May at 1,772 units SAAR. However, on a year-over-year basis, new home construction was up more than double due to strong multiple unit starts.

Copyright BCREA – reprinted with permission