Spring Homes

Photo: Alexander Synaptic/Flickr

Housing starts may have been lukewarm in March, but construction activity rose with the temperature in April. According to the latest stats from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the standalone seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts came in at 194,809 units in April. That’s an impressive 24.41 per cent jump from the 156,592 starts counted in March.

Activity in March was bogged down by bad weather in eastern Canada and a decline in condo starts in Ontario. In April, the SAAR of urban starts increased to 176,792 units while multiple urban starts increased to 117,612 units. The single-detached urban starts segment increased to 59,180 units.

Here’s a closer look at the regional differences for the SAAR of starts in urban centres:

  • In April 2014, the Atlantic provinces saw 3,264 starts, down from the 3,881 starts counted in March.
  • Quebec counted 33,101 starts, up 7.27 per cent from 30,859 the month before.
  • Urban starts in Ontario skyrocketed from 37,126 starts in March to 62,627 in April, a 68.69 per cent increase.
  • The Prairies measured 52,824 starts, up 18.79 per cent from the 44,470 counted the month before.
  • British Columbia saw a 5.02 per cent decrease, dropping from 26,295 in March to 24,976 in April.

The six-month trend for SAAR housing starts was much more moderate: starts were trending at 183,515 units last month compared to 184,602 in March.

Speaking of the six-month trend and the future of the market, Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist, said in the news release “This is in line with CMHC’s analysis indicating that the new home construction market in Canada is headed for a soft landing in 2014.

“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.”

This story has been updated from an earlier version.

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