Canadian housing starts increased 23 per cent on a monthly basis in April to 235,460 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The trend in Canadian housing starts was up, averaging 206,000 units SAAR over the past six months.
In BC, total housing starts were down 51 per cent on a monthly basis to 49,200 units SAAR. Total starts were up 26 per cent compared to April of last year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were up 63 per cent to 41,000 units SAAR while single detached starts rose 11 per cent to 8,150 units SAAR.
Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC:
- Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were up 63 per cent on a monthly basis in April at 34,200 units SAAR as multiple unit starts jumped 75 per cent from March. Compared to April 2018, total starts in Vancouver were up 46 per cent.
- In the Victoria CMA, housing starts more than doubled on a monthly basis to 5,305 units SAAR, mostly due to a spike in multiple unit starts. New home construction was up 66 per cent year-over-year.
- Total starts in the Kelowna CMA increased 30 per cent on a monthly basis, though were still relatively low at just 760 units SAAR. Year-over-year, total starts were down 82 per cent as inventory of unsold units accumulate, constraining further new construction projects. This is precisely the risk we outlined when the provincial speculation tax was introduced.
- Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA were down 46 per cent in April at just under 1000 units SAAR. However, on a year-over-year basis, new home construction was up more than double due to strong multiple unit starts.
Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.