Housing starts beat forecasts
December 18, 2018
With Greater Toronto housing starts hitting the highest monthly level of the year, residential construction in Canada posted a surprising November—easily beating most expectations.
November was the second consecutive month of higher starts, which signals a strong fourth quarter finish after housing starts fell sharply this summer.
Housing starts increased to more than 215,000 (annualized) units in November, which was 4.4 per cent faster than October’s pace. Industry forecasts were for national starts in the range of 196,000 for November, on a seasonally adjusted annual rate. November was the first month since June with a month-over-month increase.
November's national gain was concentrated in the multi-family sector, which rose 3.9 per cent to 151,600 units. Single-detached starts in urban areas also increased, posting a 7.8 per cent gain to 50,500 units—partly reversing October's decline.
Rural starts continued to trend lower reaching a near three-year low of 14,100 units in November.
Urban starts were up in seven of 10 provinces. Atlantic Canada saw increases in all regions, particularly in Prince Edward Island.
Starts declined in Ontario and Quebec, which posted starts at 47,300. Western Canada was broadly higher, led by an uptick in activity in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, where the seasonal pace surged 6 per cent to 38,900 units. Housing starts in Saskatchewan fell to 2,900 in November, compared to a robust 6,800 annualized starts a month earlier.