Housing starts in Canada rose 12.2 per cent to an annual rate of 216,924 units in August, surpassing expectations, reflecting a jump in condo activity in Toronto, Canada’s largest city.
Urban starts rose 13.6 per cent last month to 201,312 units, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said Wednesday. In the urban segment, multi-unit starts rose 19.5 per cent to 142,927 units, while single-detached starts rose 1.4 per cent to 58,385 units, it said.
Meanwhile, rural starts in Canada came in at an annual rate of 15,612 units, August housing starts came in at the highest level since late 2012. Also Wednesday, Statistics Canada reported building permits data for July. It said building permits issued by Canadian municipalities fell 0.6 per cent to C$7.74 billion that month. The drop followed a 15.5 per cent jump in building permits in June.
Canada Housing Starts August 2015
Building-permit data, which reflect early intentions of building activity, tend to be volatile on a month-over-month basis. On a 12-month basis, permits declined 13.4 per cent, according to StatsCan, reflecting the overall weakness in the Canadian economy fuelled by a swift drop in commodity prices — in particular crude oil, the country’s top export.
As for housing starts, those in Ontario’s urban areas almost doubled, jumping 89 per cent to 92,422 units in the month, while multi-unit starts rose
to 142,927 across Canada, the highest since April 2012.
CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan said the strong condo activity in Toronto comes amid a shift in demand from higher-priced single detached homes towards lower-priced alternatives. And while Toronto is hot, other markets are cooling.
Canada’s largest market had seen a cooling in condominium building in 2014 amid fears of a looming correction, but home prices and sales have barely paused since 2009.