Canadian housing starts decreased by 3.4% in December to 197,329 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The trend in national housing starts fell, averaging about 212,000 units SAAR over the past six months.
In BC, housing starts fell by 10% on a monthly basis to 42,791 units SAAR, largely due to contractions in the volatile multi-unit segment in regions outside of Vancouver. Compared to the same time last year, provincial starts were down by 16%. The province ended 2019 with the highest level of housing starts since 1955, the year when data collection began.
Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC:
Housing starts in Vancouver were flat in December, following last month's 78% increase. Compared to last year in December, housing starts were up by 12%. In 2019, Vancouver reported record-level housing starts.
In Victoria, housing starts were down by 23% on a monthly basis to 3,263 units SAAR. Compared to a year ago in December, housing starts were down by 66%. Overall, housing starts in Victoria slowed by 18% in 2019 when compared to last year.
In Kelowna, housing starts decreased by 74% in December to 908 units SAAR. Year-over-year starts were down by 73% in the region. In 2019, housing starts were 12% lower than in 2018.
Monthly housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission were up by 54% at 2,517 units SAAR. Compared to the same time last year, new home construction was down by 28%. Abbotsford-Mission ended 2019 on a strong note with housing starts up by 61% compared to 2018.