vancouver housing construction

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Canadian housing starts slipped in August according to the latest numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) fell from 199,813 in July to 192,368 last month.

The drop was more steep for the SAAR of urban starts, which fell to 175,668 in August after reaching 182,524 in July. Some of the major city markets saw a significant drop in condo construction last month, when compared to their levels the same time last year.

Here’s how construction shaped up in some of the country’s largest urban centres:

  • Toronto saw a drop of 40 per cent with August counting 2,043 starts, down from 3,418 the same time last year. However, singles buoyed the tally: the 834 starts counted in August were a 10 per cent increase over 2013. Interestingly, the pace of condo construction came to 1,209, a 54.5 decrease over starts the same time last year.
  • There was a drop-off in both property types in Montreal. Singles fell by 17.6 per cent to 230 in August while construction starts for multiples slid 23.2 per cent to 751 last month.
  • Vancouver bucked the trend and saw robust construction activity: starts for singles rose to 419 in August, a 10.5 per cent increase from last year while multiples reached 1,872 starts in August, a 42.1 per cent jump from the same time in 2013.

It’s hard to say whether the market has turned a corner and the condo market’s construction boom is being reined in cities like Toronto, where overbuilding has been a long-tome concern.

“The currently elevated level of inventory of newly completed and unoccupied condominiums, and units under construction, supports CMHC’s view that condominium starts will likely see a declining trend over the coming months as developers and builders seek to limit risks of over-building,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist, in the news release.

“However, there may still be some variability from month to month as the number of presales for some planned condominium projects reaches sufficient levels to trigger project start.”

The six-month trend for construction starts in August was 189,837 a very, very slight increase over July’s tally of 189,596.

For more details check out the table and chart from CMHC below:

Housing starts Aug 2014

housing starts august 2014

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