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Real Estate Trends

Housing Starts in Vancouver Cool off in May: CMHC

By Joannah Connolly Jun 8, 2015

Metro Vancouver housing starts in May slipped slightly month over month after a hot April, according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report published June 8.

Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) housing starts were trending at 19,400 units in May compared with 19,765 units in April, said the report. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts.

“Both multi-family and single-detached home starts trended lower in May,” said Robyn Adamache, principal, market analysis at CMHC.

However, the trend measure is a 2.1 per cent improvement on the 19,001 units measured in May 2014.

Adamache added, “The cities of Surrey and Vancouver accounted for more than half of all new homes started in the CMA in the first five months of the year. Richmond, Langley District and North Vancouver City rounded out the top five centres this year based on strength in multi-family home construction.”


Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA continued their month-over-month rise, trending at 582 units in May, up from 549 units in April.

Across Canada, the trend measure of housing starts increased slightly month over month, at 181,231 units in May compared with 179,524 in April, said the CMHC.

“The small increase in the trend was primarily driven by higher multiple starts in Ontario, the Atlantic region and Québec,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist.

“Despite month-to-month variation in multiple starts, CMHC expects builders will continue to focus on managing inventory of completed but unsold units – inventory that is still above historical average.

“CMHC also forecasts slight moderation in housing starts in 2015 and 2016, reflecting a slowdown in housing market activity in oil-producing provinces that will partly be offset by increased activity in provinces that are seeing the positive impacts of low oil prices.”

CMHC said it uses six-month moving averages to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of the state of the housing market. In some situations, said the CMHC, analyzing only the monthly seasonally adjusted data can be misleading in some markets, as they can be variable from one month to the next.

The housing starts statistics were released on the same day that Statistics Canada published its monthly building permits report.

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.
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