Issue 20-81: Housing Starts

May 11, 2020

Housing starts in urban areas (areas with population of at least 10,000) in British Columbia went down by 9.7% (seasonally adjusted at annual rates) in April compared to March, ranking fourth among provinces. Declines were registered in both multiple-family (-9.7%) and single-detached (-9.6%) housing units in the month.

Across British Columbia’s census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Victoria (+366.1%) was the only one in which housing starts went up in April. Kelowna saw the largest decrease (-61.4%) for the month, although Abbotsford-Mission (-31.7%) and Vancouver (-28.4%) also saw significant reductions.

Urban housing starts across Canada went down (-12.5%) in April, with decreases in six provinces. The decrease was largely driven by single-detached units (-34.9%), with multiple-family (-1.8%) unit starts also declining in the month. Due to COVID-19 measures, Quebec was excluded from the calculation, as activity halted completely and resumed on April 20th. Quebec will be added back into the calculations in May. Excluding Quebec, urban housing starts across Canada grew by 12.4% in April compared to March, with growth in multiple-family starts (+35.7%) more than offsetting a decline in single-detached (-27.1%) starts.

Data Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation