Canadian Housing Starts - October 9, 2012

Canadian housing starts remained robust in September at 220,215 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), down slightly from August's 225,328 (SAAR).  New home construction in BC urban centres was essentially flat in September at 27,199 units (SAAR) compared to 28,233 in August.  On a year-over-year basis, multiple units starts in BC were 4 per cent higher while single family starts were 16 per cent lower. Overall,  BC housing starts were 2 per cent lower than September 2011. Year-to-date, BC starts are 9 per cent higher than 2011.

Looking at major metropolitan areas in BC, Vancouver starts fell 4 per cent year over year in September, lead by a 15 per cent decline in single family starts, while multi-family starts fell 1 per cent. Total Vancouver housing starts are 12 per cent higher through the third quarter compared to last year. New home construction in Abbotsford was off 10 per cent compared to September 2011, and 16 per cent year-to-date, with broad weakness in both single and multiple starts. Housing starts in Kelowna jumped 105 per cent year over year due to a rise in new multi-family starts and a particularly weak September 2011 in that sector. Total starts are 16 per cent lower year-to-date than in 2011.   Housing starts in Victoria were up again in September, rising 7 per cent on continued strength in multiple starts.  As of the third quarter of 2012, total starts in Victoria are 1 per cent higher than last year.

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