Canadian housing starts slipped in December with both multi-unit dwellings and single family homes recording a decline. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) was 180,560, down from 193,199 in November.
“The result was below expectations, and continues to suggest that overall homebuilding activity in Canada remains well behaved—that is, we’re building roughly what we need,” said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist at the Bank of Montreal in his study of the latest stats.
Multiple urban starts saw the bigger decline, sliding from 173,627 in November to 162,915 in December. Single-detached urban starts also fell from 62,861 to 59,861 units last month.
Regionally, the Prairies, Atlantic Canada and Quebec saw urban starts drop month-to-month. British Columbia and Ontario measured month-to-month increases in urban starts. British Columbia counted 29,195 last month, up from 28,647 in November. Similarly, Ontario also bucked the trend seen country-wide, with urban starts increasing from 55,925 to 57,049 in December.
Looking back at 2014, it was the multi-home market that saw a boost in building. Between January and December 2013, the property type saw 106,987 starts in urban areas, a number which increased to 109,531 last year. Conversely, singles fell from 63,147 in 2013 to 62,384 in 2014.
“Quite simply, Canada’s major cities continue to build up rather than out, with development constraints playing a role in some areas,” said Kavcic.
The CMHC also released the six-month trend for housing starts in Canada. There was slight month-to-month drop, from 194,807 in November to 192,047 in December.