Canada: Housing starts ease in April
May 8, 2018
Housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted annualized (SAAR) basis moderated to 214,400 units in April, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Easing from March’s 225,500 units, April’s reading marked eleven consecutive months of housing starts above the symbolic 200,000-unit threshold but came in below analysts’ expectations of a narrower decline to 220,000 units.
April’s reading reflected contractions in both multi-unit and single-detached starts as new mortgage-lending rules continued to chill the once-hot market. A breakdown by city showed that Toronto recorded a sharp drop in multi-unit groundbreaking, as did Vancouver. On the other hand, Montreal began the second quarter on firm footing as the country´s third largest housing market posted massive gains in the month.
Meanwhile, the six-month moving average of housing starts (SAAR) ticked lower in April from its highest level in just over a decade a month earlier, easing from 226,900 units to 225,700 units.
A separate report, released by Statistics Canada, showed that the value of Canadian building permits rose in March—the most recent month for which data is available. March’s 3.1% rise in building permits from February was due largely to expanded plans for multi-unit dwellings in Quebec and British Columbia, beating market expectations.
Author: Christopher Thomas, Economist