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Thursday , 26 May 2016
New home construction, especially condos, up sharply in February

New home construction, especially condos, up sharply in February

After a slow start in January, new home builders, particularly in the condominium sector, got back to work in February, possibly aided by the unusually mild weather, especially in Ontario. New home starts rose nationally by 28.8 per cent, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Multiple urban starts, mainly condominiums but also including apartments and townhouses,  outnumbered single detached homes by just over two to one across Canada. The number of multiple starts was up 46 per cent in February, while single detached starts rose 6.1 per cent. In all, the annualized rate of new homes started was 212,594, of which 138,774 were multiple units.

In Toronto, where February was a record-setting month in the home resale market, the number of new housing starts more than doubled compared to one year ago. The actual number of new condo starts for the month in Toronto was 2,671, an increase of 106 per cent over the same period one year ago. The bulk of these starts were in the city of Toronto, but new condo construction in Mississauga was also “robust,” CMHC said.

The number of new single detached homes started in February also more than doubled compared to one year ago, increasing from 358 to 731 (104 per cent).

The annualized rate of new home starts for Toronto was 47,341, an increase of 81 per cent over January’s 26,120 units. The situation in Ontario is similar, with the number of urban starts remaining “elevated,” at 76,000 units. This is 25 per cent higher than the same period one year ago.

While Ontario and several other regions—BC, Quebec, Atlantic Canada—saw big increases in housing construction, the opposite was true in the Prairies. Commenting on the disparity, BMO economist Robert Kavcic said that the spectrum of residential construction activity in Canada runs from “outright recession” in Calgary and Edmonton to “well above past highs” in Toronto.

Sales numbers for new homes in February are not yet available, but RealNet Canada’s figures for January show that sales of both single detached homes and condominiums in Toronto were down compared to one year ago and down compared to the ten-year average. Statistics Canada also reports that the number of building permits issued for residential construction across the country dropped by 9.8 per cent in January, a decline that will manifest as fewer housing starts in the next couple of months.

About Josephine Nolan

Josephine Nolan is the chief editor of Condo.ca—Canada's Condominium Magazine. You can reach Josephine via our contact form. She reads all her mail.

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