Canadian housing starts decreased by 13.5% m/m to 246k units in February at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), following a strong increase of 24% in January. Housing starts decreased in all provinces except for BC. Building activity declined in both the multi-unit (-16%) and single-detached (-9%) segments. Despite February's decline, national housing starts were up by 17% compared to the same time last year. Also, the six-month moving average was still a strong 243k units SAAR.
In BC, housing starts increased by 21% m/m to 43.5k units SAAR in February, following a decrease of 17% in the previous month. Building activity was up by 39% in the multi-unit segment, while single-detached starts were down by 14%. The rise in the multi-unit segment was led by Vancouver, which reported a 70% increase in multi-unit starts in February. Compared to the same time last year, housing starts were up by 2% in BC.
The decline in February comes on the heels of a very strong 2020. Also, the level of residential construction activity is still above pre-pandemic levels, reflecting the high demand for housing that we've seen across the country. The value of BC residential building permits was down by 1% in January, led by the multi-unit segment, while permits were up for the single-detached segment.
Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.