Canada Housing April 2018


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.

In its annual Housing Market Outlook, released last October, the CMHC projected housing starts would range between 192,200–203,000 units this year and between 192,300–203,800 units in 2019. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect 204,900 housing starts in 2018. For 2019, the panel sees housing starts moderating to 192,900 units.


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Canada Housing Chart

Canada Housing Starts April 2018

Note: Monthly housing starts and six-month trend in monthly housing starts, both at seasonally-adjusted annualized rate.
Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

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