Canadian housing starts remain steady in October

October 2017 housing
October 2017 housing starts in Canada showed only a slight increase from last month’s data

From 215,153 units in September 2017, the trend in housing starts for October 2017 slightly increased to 216,770 units, according to a recent report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

“The trend in housing starts essentially held steady in October following a decrease in September,” said CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan. “Nevertheless, new home construction remains very strong in 2017, as the seasonally adjust number of starts has been above 200,00 units in nine of ten months so far this year.”

In New Brunswick, the report showed a 28 per cent increase year-to-date, attributing the strong housing starts to population growth. Construction activity is mostly concentrated in the Moncton Census Metropolitan Area where multi-family starts in particular remained strong with an increase of 49 pre cent year-to-date.

After seeing a decrease in condominium and rental inventories, Montreal developers ramped up on construction and in October 2017, the province saw the highest level of housing starts with nearly 3,500 units constructed. Likewise, housing starts in Thunder Bay showed a strong increase as its October housing starts reached the highest level in three years.

With improved employment and earnings, low-rise housing starts in Ottawa grew higher in October 2017. Housing starts of this month recorded 27 per cent higher than their level in 2016. However, data showed that single detached starts remained flat.

Housing starts in Toronto decreased in October 2017, with the biggest declines in single-detached homes and apartments. London also saw a dip in its housing starts for October 2017 relative to data recorded from October 2016. Nonetheless, single-detached starts in London reached the highest levels for the month of October since 2007. The influx of students demanding new single-detached homes encouraged building activity.

Meanwhile, multi-unit housing starts in Windsor posted the highest number of residential construction for the month of October since 2004. Single-detached starts continued to decrease for a second consecutive month as builders have been discouraged from bringing more units into the market due to a low demand in the resale market.

Labour market conditions and housing demands have risen during 2017 but total housing starts still remained tight for Calgary. The report said that a rise in active listings, combined with increased inventories in the new home market, discouraged housing starts.

Condominium developments in Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey pushed the number of housing starts up in Vancouver, with a strong demand for more multi-family dwellings. Year-to-date starts, however, remained lower than 2016 levels.

For rural areas, housing starts were estimated at 16,836 units in October 2017.


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