Spring ended on a high note with regard to sales, and it looks like residential construction also picked up steam last month.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s monthly housing starts report, on a national level, starts trended up in June 2019 with 205,838 units, compared to 200,530 in May. The trend is a six month moving average of seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR).
The standalone SAAR of housing starts was 245,657 units last month, up 26% from May. The SAAR of urban starts also increased 26% to 234,238 units, with urban multi-unit starts up 31% to 185,804 and urban detached starts up 8% to 48,434. Rural starts were estimated at 11,419 units.
"The national trend in housing starts increased in June, primarily due to higher trending row and apartment starts, in urban areas," says Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "The strong surge in the SAAR of apartment starts in April is also contributing to the high level of the trend measure of total housing starts in June.”
CMHC highlighted the Greater Sudbury area because housing starts spiked in June mostly due to an increase in semi-detached starts. There’s a low supply of semis in Sudbury’s resale market, and this type of housing is affordable for first-time buyers.
Kingston has had a pretty strong year, but on a year-over-year basis, starts trended down 14% with fewer multi-unit starts. There were lower numbers for semis and rows, but apartments were on par with previous months, all of which were rental in June. Kingston has been struggling with a low vacancy rate for a long time now.
Housing starts in Toronto were mostly unchanged from month to month. Semis and row starts were down, but apartment and detached were up. As usual, multi-unit starts are dominating the construction scene in Toronto, especially since the average price of detached homes remains out of reach for many families.
The last Ontario area CMHC highlights is the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo region where housing starts trended up, mostly due to multi-unit starts. Detached starts trended down, but this was expected because of the low number of sales in the second half of 2018. Much of the new construction is around the region’s new light rail transit line.