Canadian Housing Starts Exceed End-of-Summer Expectations

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TORONTO – According to new figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), nationwide housing starts experienced an unexpected boost last month – fuelled largely by condominium development across the GTA.

The CMHC’s report issued October 8, and entitled September 2015 Housing Starts in Canada, reveals that the country’s seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of starts jumped to 230,701 in September – reflecting a solid 7.2 per cent increase over August’s SAAR of 214,255, and a truly impressive 16.3 per cent increase over July’s SAAR of 193,253.

According to CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan, the newest figures are reflective of a consumer preference shift in larger markets – particularly Toronto – towards purchasing more affordable apartment-style homes.

“Housing starts have been trending up, supported by strong condominium activity in Toronto. This is in line with CMHC’s most recent forecasts that would see demand shift from new higher-priced single-detached homes towards lower-priced alternatives,” Dugan explained in September.

Indeed, the CMHC’s companion reports for Toronto’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) revealed that the SAAR for the area’s housing starts nearly tripled in August – jumping to 65,097 units from July’s SAAR of 23,716. While the SAAR cooled slightly in September, tallying in at 58,113, the trend measure for that month – a “six-month moving average” of SAARS – rose to 45,810, reflecting a 4.3 per cent month-over-month increase.

Interestingly, the August report also reveals that the City of Toronto’s total August starts were outweighed – for the second time this year – by the total of starts from across its outlying suburban municipalities. In particular, massive year-over-year jumps in the level of starts were experienced in Richmond Hill (1,230 vs. just 93 in August 2014), Vaughan (527 vs. 62), and Mississauga (539 vs. 40).

“Significant increases in apartment starts lifted the trend number to its highest level since early 2013,” explained Dana Senagama, CMHC Principal Market Analyst for the GTA.

“High sales of pre-construction condominium apartment units throughout 2014 continue to convert to starts this year.”

For more detailed information on the newest housing developments around Greater Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe, we recommend checking out New Releases, our very own project database where you can explore floorplans, register for new homes, and more.

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