Canadian Housing Starts Survey

February 8, 2013

Housing Starts

Canadian housing starts registered 160,577 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in January, down from nearly 200,000 (SAAR) in December.  Year-over-year, housing starts were 24 per cent lower in January. 

New home construction in BC urban centres rose nearly 8 per cent month-over-month in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 21,856 units.  However, on a year-over-year basis, total starts were 19 per cent lower than January 2012. Single-detached starts were 8 per cent higher over last year, while multiples fell 27 per cent compared to January 2012. 

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC, Vancouver CMA starts fell 20 per cent year-over-year in January. Single-detached starts were 19 per cent higher than last year, while multiples were almost 30 per cent lower.  New home construction in the Abbotsford CMA was up 25 per cent compared to January 2012. Housing starts in both Kelowna and Victoria were up 12 per cent compared to last January. 


After two months of strong gains, the Canadian economy shed 22,000 jobs in January, though a decline in people looking for work pushed the unemployment rate lower by 0.1 points to 7 per cent. 

Employment growth in BC is off to an difficult start as employment fell by 16,000 jobs in January. However, an out-sized contraction of the labour force prompted a decline in the unemployment rate to 6.3 per cent. 

For more information, please contact: 

Cameron Muir
Chief Economist
Direct: 604.742.2780
Mobile: 778.229.1884

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