Canada's Condominium Magazine

Toronto housing starts rebound in February after low January

The number of housing starts rose significantly in Canada in February, recovering from low levels of activity in January, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) figures show. Most of the gains were in urban multi-family units, which saw a 27.7 per cent increase nationally. Single urban housing starts also rose 6.1 per cent.

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The rise in housing starts in Toronto in February was due mainly to a significant backlog of condominiums in the supply chain, according to CMHC analyst.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate for housing starts was up sharply from January, especially in Ontario, where the number of urban starts rose 46.8 per cent compared to January. Much of this rebound in Ontario was the result of multi-family starts.

In Toronto. housing starts were trending at 38,500 units in February, which is in line with the six-month trend. Broken down by housing type, the seasonally adjusted annual rates for Toronto in February were:

  • Single-detached: 10,147 (January: 6,976)
  • All others: 32,136 (January: 9,624)
  • Total: 42,283 (January: 16,600)

That January number was the lowest since January 2011 in Toronto (25,448).

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Looked at year-over-year, actual Toronto housing starts (not  seasonally adjusted) were up 43 per cent compared to February 2012. (3,280 compared to 2,678).

Based on its trend measurement, which uses a six-month moving average, CMHC calculates housing starts at 195,087 in February, closer to the six-month average than January. This trend continues to moderate, CMHC says, the result of more modest housing demand in 2012.

The senior market analyst at CMHC, Shaun Hildebrand, notes that the rise in Toronto starts is the result of a “sizeable backlog” of condominium projects that are close to pre-construction sales targets.

On a year-over-year basis, housing starts in Canada were down 11 per cent compared to February 2012.

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