Issue 18-06: Housing Starts

January 9, 2018

Housing starts in urban areas (areas with population of at least 10,000) in British Columbia increased by 10.5% (seasonally adjusted at annual rates) in December compared to November. The increase was due to increases in apartment starts (+30.1%), while all other subcomponents saw declines in the month.

Across British Columbia’s census metropolitan areas, Abbotsford-Mission (‑71.6%) was the only one in which housing starts fell in December. Victoria saw the biggest rise at 23.1% for the month.

Despite growing in seven of the provinces, urban housing starts across Canada declined by 15.1% in December. A modest increase of 4.7% in starts of single-detached units was not enough to offset the decline in the multiple‑unit category (‑22.0%). All subcomponents of the multiple‑unit category fell in the month, with apartments (‑25.1%) registering the largest fall in the month.

New Brunswick saw the largest increase in urban housing starts among provinces (+19.5%) in December. Meanwhile, Ontario (‑35.2%) and Alberta (‑35.2%) tied for the largest decline in provincial housing starts. Prince Edward Island (‑34.0%) also registered a decline in December.

Annual Housing Starts 2017

Housing starts for all areas (including areas with population under 10,000 persons) in British Columbia went up by 4.4% in 2017 compared to the prior year, to reach 43,666 units. The increase was mainly driven by increases in starts of apartments (+6.5%) and row homes (+5.5%). Single-detached homes also increased, albeit more modestly at 0.6%. Only starts of semi-detached units (‑3.5%) fell in the year.

Nationally, housing starts increased by 11.0% in 2017. The increase was led by Quebec (+19.4%) and Alberta (+20.1%). Notable increases were observed in Prince Edward Island (+63.8%), Manitoba (+41.0%) and New Brunswick (+26.4%).

Data Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation