Canadian housing starts were essentially flat compared to January, albeit up slightly to 210,207 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in February. The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts continues to rise with new home construction on a 204,700 unit pace.
In BC, total housing starts were slowed substantially by snowfall in February which prompted starts to decline 45 per cent year-over-year Single detached starts were down 24 per cent while multiple unit starts were down 51 per cent year-over-year. We expect that construction will pick up significantly with the onset of spring.
Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC, total starts in the Vancouver CMA were down 52 per cent year-over-year as unusually snow conditions slowed the pace of homebuilding. In the Victoria CMA, housing starts fell 5 per cent year-over-year, though starts of single detached units actually increased by 20 per cent. New home construction in the Kelowna CMA declined 29 per cent compared to last year due to a drop in multiple unit starts. Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA fell 89 per cent as weather conditions halted most new construction.