- Housing starts grew to (an annualized) 215k in October, up 5.8% from year-ago
- Starts in the Prairies drove the increase
- Multi-unit starts face signs of cooling from resale market
Canadian housing starts ticked up to 215k (annualized) in October, almost 6% above the year ago level. Starts in the Prairies and Ontario led the increase. Outside those regions, new building activity generally slowed. Average starts from January to October continued to trend above year-ago levels standing 1.1% higher. Ontario and Quebec outpaced the rest of the provinces while Alberta and BC lagged. A solid reading from permit issuance in September also suggests still-positive near-term momentum for new building activity.
Looking back at Q3, housing starts rose 6.9% year-over-year despite an almost 15% drop in the second quarter when Covid-19 containment measures weighed particularly on building activity in Quebec. A large portion of the Q3 rebound was accounted for by apartment buildings. Starts for all other dwelling types (single-family, semi-detached etc.) also increased although remained below year-ago levels. The home-resale market typically leads new building activity, and resales have been very strong (up 32% from a year ago in October). Recently, buyers have been favouring single-detached homes in the suburbs over condos in urban centres. In the longer run, the cooling in the condo market could yet spill over into slower apartment starts.