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Canadian Housing Starts (Mar) - April 8, 2020

Posted by Ron Neal on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 at 8:37pm.

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Canadian Housing Starts (Mar) - April 8, 2020

Canadian housing starts decreased by 7.3% m/m in March to 195,174 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The decrease was broad-based with starts down in 7 of 10 provinces, signalling early signs of the impact of COVID-19 on construction activity. The trend in national housing starts to fell to a still healthy average of 205,000 units SAAR over the past six months. 

In BC, housing starts fell by 20% m/m to 34,014 units SAAR, following a 44% rise in the previous month. The decrease was entirely driven by multi-units (-25%), while singles increased (1%). Given the rapidly evolving circumstances brought on by COVID-19, Statistics Canada released early estimates of March building permits for select regions (covering 29% of total building permit values). Early estimates show permits falling by 23% in Canadian cities compared to the same time last year. The strongest declines were in Ontario (-51%), BC (-27%) and Quebec (-38%), likely due to recent announcements in Ontario and Quebec to halt many construction projects. Meanwhile in BC, earlier reported cases of COVID-19 compared to other regions likely started to slow construction intentions. In the near term, new construction activity will continue to slow across the country as physical distancing measures persist.  

Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC: 

Housing starts in Vancouver were up by 3% in March to 21,236 units SAAR, driven entirely by multi-units (6%), while singles were down (-10%). Compared to last year in March, housing starts were up by 1%.  

In Victoria, housing starts were down by 79% m/m to 1,226 units SAAR, which follows last month's strong showing of 5,931 units. Compared to a year ago in March, housing starts were down by 41%.  

In Kelowna, housing starts decreased by 61% m/m to 1,504, following a 1,129% increase in the previous month. Starts were up by 161% in the region compared to the same time last year. 

Monthly housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission were down by 79% at 669 units SAAR, following last month's 2,738 units. Compared to the same time last year, new home construction was down by 64%.

For more information, please contact:  

Brendon Ogmundson
Chief Economist
Kellie Fong

BCREA is the professional association for more than 23,000 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province’s 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.

To demonstrate the profession's commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

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The Neal Estate Team

The Neal Estate Team is your #1 source for all of your Victoria BC real estate needs. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (250) 386-8181 to speak with a Victoria real estate buying or selling expert today. With decades of experience as a top selling Victoria REALTOR® and ranked in top 1% globally with over 4,000 transactions and $1 Billion SOLD, Ron Neal & The Neal Estate Team have the industry experience and market knowledge to help you make smart and informed buying or selling decisions. 

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