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Saturday , 25 March 2017
Housing construction surges in January, population passes 35 million

Housing construction surges in January, population passes 35 million

It would seem a natural connection: the population is growing, therefore the number of new homes built to house that population should also grow, at a more or less similar rate. If doesn’t happen that way usually, but in January the number of new housing starts in Canada took another of those “unexpected” jumps that economists always talk about, and the announcement from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation happened to coincide with one from Statistics Canada on the growth of the population. Canada is now home to more than 35.1 million and has the strongest population growth of the G7 countries, mainly due to immigration. The population grew by about 1.7 million over the last five years.

Across the country, both the trend measure, a six-month average, and the seasonally adjusted standalone number of housing starts, were up in January: 207,408 units were started, compared to 206,305 in December. Compared to January 2016, housing starts were up 18 per cent.

Ontario was responsible for most of the growth, with a 25 per cent increase, from 77,474 units in December to 96,883 units in January, the highest in more than two years. CMHC analyst Ted Tsiakopoulos noted that housing construction activity grew in most housing segments and attributed the growth to a strong job market, low vacancy rates and less choice in the resale market, all of which exert upward pressure on new home construction. Construction of new condo and other housing types in Ontario outnumbered single-detached starts by about two to one in January (63,407 to 33,476).

New construction of condos and other housing types outpaced single detached starts by two to one in January.

In Toronto, the rise was even steeper, with 53 per cent more starts in January than in December (from 34,477 units to 52,941, seasonally adjusted). Most of this was in the condo sector (37,668), and most of it in the City of Toronto, followed by Mississauga.

On a year-over-year basis, the actual number of new single-detached homes started in Toronto was up 35 per cent compared to January 2016. In the “all others” category, including condos and townhouses, the year-over-year rise was a remarkable 162 per cent. Unseasonably mild weather in January might have played a role in the strong surge in construction in Toronto.

According to Statistics Canada’s latest figures from the 2016 census, 82 per cent of Canadians now live in cities, referred to by demographers as “population sinks.” Canada has one of the highest concentrations among the G7 countries. A Statistics Canada spokesperson told the Canadian Press that more and more young professionals and aging baby boomers are opting for the downtown condo lifestyle. New condo construction was up 4.2 per cent countrywide in January, while single-detached home construction declined by 4.6 per cent.

Source: CBC news

The strongest population growth was in the western provinces, particularly Alberta. The province of New Brunswick actually lost population, while Ontario gained 4.6 per cent, now having a population of 13.4 million. The only area in Canada where fertility accounted for more population growth than immigration was Nunavut, which had the highest population growth in the country, at 12.7 per cent.

About Josephine Nolan

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

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