Housing Starts - May 8, 2017

Canadian housing starts declined to 214,098 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in April following a surge in new home construction in March that saw a pace of over 250,000 units SAAR.  The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts continues to trend higher at about 214,000 units SAAR.

In BC, total housing starts were 44,604 units SAAR, a 1 per cent dip from the previous month and 1 per cent higher compared to April 2016.  Single detached starts declined 9 per cent month-over-month but were 16 per cent higher year-over-year. Multiple unit starts increased 2 per cent month-over-month and were down 3 per cent year-over-year.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC: 

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were flat month-over-month and down 7 per cent year-over-year with declines posted in both single and multiple units starts. 
  • In the supply constrained Victoria CMA market, housing starts jumped 25 per cent from March as new multiple unit projects broke ground. However new home construction was well off the pace set in 2016 with total starts down 26 per cent year-over-year . 
  • New home construction in the Kelowna CMA dropped 24 per cent on a month-over-month basis after a strong March. However, year-over-year, total housing starts were four times higher than April 2016.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA were down 26 per cent from March but were up close to 60 per cent compared to April 2016 due to a stronger pace of multiple unit starts.

Here in is one of the pricing issues we have in Metro Vancouver, Supply & Demand. Cities and Muncipalities need to streamline the months of nit picking design requirements and red tape into weeks. Some developments take years when it should take less than six months to approve any development.Typically it takes 3 years from shovel in the ground to occupency for a concrete tower, 2 years for a wood frame condo building and nearly the same for row or townhomes.


Cities and Muncipalities need to free up their land stock with long term lease agreements with developers to build rental and more affordable price point housing options.


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