Canadian housing starts closed the year down close to 20 per cent, falling from 212,028 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in November to 172,965 units SAAR in December. The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts of 203,500 units SAAR was also down. For the year 2015, total Canadian housing starts were up 6 per cent over 2014. Large declines in oil-producing provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland were largely offset by strong new home construction in BC and Ontario.
Housing starts in BC rebounded in December, rising 26 per cent to 33,346 units SAAR. On a year-over-year basis, housing starts were up 15 per cent, led by a 22 per cent increase in multiple unit starts which offset a 3 per cent decline in single detached starts. For the year 2015, total housing starts in BC increased 12 per cent compared to 2014.
Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC, total starts in the Vancouver CMA were up 20 per cent year-over-year in December due to a 27 per cent jump in multiple starts. For all of 2015, Vancouver CMA new home construction rose 9 per cent, finishing the year at 20,863 total starts. In the Victoria CMA, housing starts more than doubled compared to December 2014, with strong gains in both single and multiple starts. For all of 2015, Victoria CMA starts increased 53 per cent to 2,008 total starts. Home construction in the Kelowna CMA closed the year down, falling 44 per cent year-over-year. For all of 2015, total housing starts dipped slightly, falling 2 per cent to 1,280 total starts. Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA were up 21 per cent to finish the year and were 62 per cent higher for all of 2015 at 806 total starts.