Following a couple years of sluggish activity in Toronto’s new ground-oriented housing market, it looks like construction is starting to pick up steam.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s monthly housing starts report, national starts trended at 223,507 units in September 2019, up slightly from 218,782 in August. The trend is a six-month moving average of seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR).
The standalone monthly SAAR in September was 221,202 units, down 2.5% from the previous month. Urban starts fell 2.4% to 208,503 units, with multi-unit starts down 0.2% with 159,742 and detached starts down 9.2% with 48,761. Rural starts are estimated at 12,699.
"The national trend in housing starts increased in September," says Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "Higher trending single-detached starts in urban centres since July, following several months of declines combined with higher-trending multi-family units in September to push the total starts trend to its highest level since April 2018."
In Toronto, housing starts trended up, mostly due to many semi-detached and townhome starts. Expensive detached homes are still pushing buyers to relatively affordable ground-oriented product. Condo starts fell in September, but they still “dominate” housing construction across the region.
Housing starts in Ottawa also trended up with year-to-date starts up 11% compared to the same time period a year ago. Apartment and townhome starts increased while detached starts fell. Like Toronto, detached homes in Ottawa are priced out of reach for many buyers, so demand is shifting to relatively affordable housing.
Records were set in Kingston where housing starts hit a 29-year high thanks to strong growth of both detached and multi-unit starts. Condo apartments had the strongest growth, with year-to-date starts hitting a 40-year high!
The fall is typically a busy season for new home sales and construction, so we’re eager to see how the rest of October and November plays out!