Housing Starts Photo: James Bombales

The number of housing starts declined across the country last month according to data released Friday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for starts was 181,814 units in April, while the rate in March was higher at 189,546 units.

Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre, said that the rate has slowed to average as developers manage their inventory.

“Elevated levels of multi-unit starts during mid-2014 caused the trend to peak in September. Starts activity since then has trended down to current stable levels as builders have adjusted activity to manage inventories,” he said.

Dugan also said that the trend is meeting the CMHC’s expectations for 2015.

The standalone monthly SAAR of urban starts decreased by 6.6 per cent in April. Across Canadian cities, condo starts decreased by 14.2 per cent in April and single-detached urban starts increased by 11.4 per cent.

Starts decreased noticeably in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area. The standalone monthly SAAR decreased from 46,070 in March to 38,855 in April due to fewer apartment starts.

However, looking at the six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR, or the trend measure, the story is different. Toronto saw a boost with the six-month moving average  moving up from 30,303 starts in March to 32,538 in April.

And there could be more activity down the line, despite the month-to-month drop in the standalone monthly SAAR in Toronto.

“Strong high rise completions so far this year have enabled builders to channel more resources towards breaking ground on new projects,” said Dana Senagama, CMHC’s Principal of Market Analysis for the GTA.

Across Canada, the six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR was 179,299 units in April, while March’s average was 179,114.

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