Canada housing starts jump at start of 2017

Toronto, Canada

Housing starts in Canada jumped at the start of 2017, with construction in some areas hitting an eight-year high.

Starts are on pace to hit 204,669 units in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), up from 200,255 units in January. This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

Condominium starts in the Montréal area increased considerably in February. The hike was mainly due to construction starting on some large real estate projects in the downtown Montréal-Griffintown sector. Activity on the new condominium market therefore remains strong in this zone, as these new units add to the nearly 3,000 units currently under construction.

In Toronto, low supply in the resale market resulted in demand spilling over into the new home market, particularly for low rise homes. Single-detached home starts were at their highest level for February in more than ten years. The total housing starts trend remained steady in February despite a drop in apartment starts.

“This winter has seen Canada’s national housing starts trend upward, supported mostly by increased construction of homes in Ontario,” says Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “New single-detached home construction in Ontario is reaching levels not seen in the province since July 2008 — offsetting recent slowdowns in British Columbia.”

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