Canadian housing starts began the year with a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 197,900 starts in January. While starts were down slightly from December's mark of 199,900, the pace of new home construction remains strong. New home construction in BC urban centres rose 29 per cent from December 2011, registering 27,000 starts (SAAR) in January.
Looking at major metropolitan areas, housing starts rose 8.3 per cent year-over- year in Vancouver. In a bit of a role reversal, it was single family starts that drove growth, rising 50 per cent year over year while multi-family starts rose a modest 2 per cent. Abbotsford new home construction fell 54 per cent year-over-year in January due to weakness in both single-family and multi-family starts. New home construction in Victoria rose 5 per cent year-over-year in January due to strong growth in multi-family starts. Finally, new home construction in Kelowna continued to build on momentum from late 2011 as total starts rose 48 per cent year-over-year on balanced growth between single and multi-family starts.