Vancouver housing starts rebound in September: CMHC

Housing starts were on the upswing in Vancouver in September | Shutterstock

September saw a bump in housing starts in Vancouver as a number of multi-family units were started across the region, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced October 11.

Starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending at 29,741 units in the month, up from 28,123 units in August. This measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates.

“After a dip in August, Vancouver housing starts reset on an upward trend in September given a recent surge in multiple-family residential construction,” said Robyn Adamache, CMHC’s principal market analyst for Vancouver.

“A number of large multiple-family projects, including rental, were started in Burnaby, New Westminster and Vancouver City in response to strong housing demand.”

Housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission dipped in the month, reaching 937 units in September from 1,003 in August. A drop in starts of single-detached homes was responsible for this decrease, the second consecutive monthly drop.

Across the province, starts jumped to more than 49,700 in the month and the 12-month average—more than 40,000 units—is the highest since the early 1990s.

Robert Kavcic, senior economist and vice-president of economic research for BMO Capital markets, said the province has seen starts stable around 27,000 units, annualized, between 2010 and mid-2015, with supply meeting demand.

“Since then, we’ve seen a clear break to the upside, likely reflecting strengthening demographic fundamentals, but possibly a response to accelerating price growth as well, particularly in the Vancouver condo sector,” Kavcic said in a note to investors.

“It’s the latter that could grow more worrisome in the year ahead, given that the current pace of new construction, if sustained, would likely leave excess supply on the market further down the road.”