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Falling Condo Production Cause of Low BC Housing Starts

Canadian Housing Starts - September 10, 2019

 Canadian housing starts increased by 1.9% in August to 226,639 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The trend in Canadian housing starts was up, averaging 218,998 units SAAR over the past six months, continuing a robust trend.

 In BC, housing starts were down by 26% on a monthly basis to 39,266 units SAAR. This largely reflects activity that was pushed forward in previous months as developers tried to get ahead of a new development charge in Vancouver. Compared to the same time last year, provincial starts were down 17%. On a monthly basis, starts of multi-units were down by 33%, while singles were up by 4%.

Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC:
•Housing starts in Vancouver were down by 38% in August at 19,858 units SAAR, following a 23% decrease in the previous month. This marks the lowest level since October 2018. The decline was entirely in the multi unit segment. Compared to last year in August, housing starts in Vancouver were down by 20%.
•In Victoria, housing starts were down by 55% on a monthly basis to 1,645 units SAAR. Compared to a year ago, housing starts were down by 77%.
•In Kelowna, housing starts increased by 298% in August to 5,844 units SAAR, rebounding from low levels the previous month. Year-over-year, starts were up by 47%.
•Monthly housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission were down by 62% at 1,125 units SAAR, down from high levels reported the previous month. Compared to this time last year, new home construction was up by 234% due to strong multi-unit starts.