BCREA Economics Now

Canadian Housing Starts - April 10, 2012
Canadian housing starts jumped 5 per cent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 215,600 units. The increase in starts primarily resulted from strong growth in multiple starts in Ontario and the Prairies. New home construction in BC urban centres fell 28 per cent from February 2012, registering 20,900 starts (SAAR) in March.  However, housing starts were 13 per cent higher than March 2011. For the first quarter 2012, housing starts are 14 per cent higher than at the same time last year, with balanced growth between single and multiple starts. 

Looking at major metropolitan centres in BC, housing starts increased 26 per cent year-over- year in Vancouver. Single family starts declined slightly by 2 per cent while  multi-family starts were 36 per cent higher than last year. Abbotsford new home construction tumbled 79 per cent year-over-year, though this was entirely the result of low activity in the multi-family sector compared to a relatively strong March 2011. New home construction in Victoria fell 47 cent year-over-year in March due to weakness in multi-family construction. Finally, new home construction in Kelowna posted 42 per cent growth year-over-year as a result of strong multi-family starts.

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