Canada's Condominium Magazine

Housing starts bounced back in April after slow March

The housing industry in many parts of Canada, particularly in cities, saw a big surge in activity in April after a pretty dismal March. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reports today that the seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, was 194,809 units in April, an increase from 156,592 in March. It was the highest number of starts since last November. The SAAR of urban starts increased to 176,792 units. Multiple urban starts increased to 117,612 units, an increase of 35.1 per cent, while the single-detached urban starts segment increased to 59,180 units, up 6.5 per cent. Increases were seen in Ontario, Quebec and the Prairies.

In Toronto, new home building more than doubled that of March. The monthly SAAR was 36,071 units in April, up from 16,974 in March. CMHC said that this large jump in building was the result of a return to a “more usual rate” for condominium (apartment) starts after an unusually low rate the previous month.

Looked at from the perspective of the trend, a six-month moving average used by CMHC to complement the SAAR numbers, housing starts “eased” in April in Toronto. While the trend for semi-detached and townhouses moved higher, the trend for condos and single detached homes went the other way.

The trend for housing starts in Canada as a whole was “essentially stable” at 183,515 units. That trend has remained in the 175,000–225,000 range since 2009, well within the range considered consistent with new household formation in Canada.

housing-starts-Canada-April-2014-Condo.ca
Source: CMHC

CMHC, along with many other analysts, has predicted that the new home construction market in Canada will slow gradually in the coming months, with fewer condominiums built. “Over the remainder of the year, builders are expected to continue to adjust activity, particularly with respect to multiples, in order to manage inventory levels,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist.

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