Canadian Housing Starts – July, 2019

Canadian housing starts surpassed market expectations with a 25% monthly increase in June to 245,657 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The trend in Canadian housing starts was up, averaging 205,838 units SAAR over the past six months, which is a robust trend.

In BC, total housing starts were up by 12% on a monthly basis to 60,023 units SAAR. Compared to the same time last year, total starts were up 76%. On a monthly basis, starts of multi-units and single detached units were up by 13% and 6%, respectively.

Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC:

Total starts in Vancouver were down by 3% in June at 41,504 units SAAR, following a 25% increase in the previous month. The decline in multi-unit starts (-3%) more than offset the increase in single detached starts (1%). Compared to last year in June, housing starts in Vancouver were up 143% driven by the multi-unit segment.

In Victoria, housing starts were up by 6% on a monthly basis to 2,462 units SAAR. Compared to a year ago, housing starts are down by 59%.

In Kelowna, housing starts increased by 177% in June to 2,902 units SAAR, rebounding from low levels the previous month. Year-over-year, total starts were down by 19% as inventory of unsold units accumulate, constraining further new construction projects. This is the risk we outlined when the provincial speculation tax was introduced.

Monthly housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission were down by 55% at 806 units SAAR. However, on a year-over-year basis, new home construction was up by 46% due to strong multi-unit starts.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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