Canada housing starts Photo: CMHC

Canada’s housing boom continued in June as housing starts exceeded expectations. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of housing starts rose to 202,818 last month, the highest level since August 2014 and well-above the 190,000 starts that analysts had predicted for the month. June’s SAAR total was also nearly three per cent higher than the 196,981 starts in May.

“The trend in housing starts increased this month as multiple starts trended upward, offsetting a downward trend in single-detached home starts,” CMHC economist Bob Dugan said in a release. “The rise in the trend of multiple starts reflects a 53 per cent increase in seasonally adjusted multiple starts from February to June 2015. Seasonally adjusted multiple starts are at their highest level since September 2012, but are expected to moderate over the coming months.”

New home construction in urban areas largely fueled the increase in June as urban housing starts climbed 3.2 per cent to 188,720 units. Broken down by property type, multi-unit urban starts climbed 3.7 per cent month-over-month to 130,933 units while single-detached starts rose by two per cent to 57,787 units.

Regional urban starts

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts in British Columbia climbed 45.1 per cent, driven by apartment and townhome construction in the Vancouver region.

“So far this year, town home building has been focused in Surrey and Langley, while new apartment projects have been concentrated in Burnaby, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and the City of Vancouver.” said CMHC analyst Robyn Adamache in a release.

Significant month-over-month increases in urban housing starts were also seen in the Prairies (up 27.7 per cent), Quebec (27 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (12.8 per cent). Ontario, however, saw its seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts fall from 81,542 units in May to 56,511 units in June, a 30.6 per cent decline. Still, those figures are nine per cent above levels from the same period last year.

urban housing starts Canada June 2015

In the Greater Toronto Area, housing starts trended at 39,170 units in June compared to 38,415 in May.

“Despite a slight pull-back in condominium apartment starts, low rise home starts trended higher, supporting an increase in total housing starts in June,” said Dana Senagama, CMHC analyst for the GTA. “With inventories of new and resale low rise homes hitting all-time lows, households are increasingly looking for more choice and builders are channelling this demand towards new projects.”

Toronto proper maintained the highest number of starts as construction began on many apartment units. However, the 905 regions saw increased activity as more new home starts shifted out of Toronto. The City of Mississauga had the next highest number of starts, which included a significant number of apartments. This was followed by the municipalities of Vaughan, Oakville, Markham and Brampton, where starts were bolstered by single-detached and row homes.

For more regional highlights from the report, you can download the full report here (PDF).

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