Vancouver housing starts hit highest level in decades in March: CMHC

The number of multi-family dwellings jumped from 1,895 units in March 2016 to 2,044 units in the same month this year | BIV files

The number of homes started in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in March was the highest seen in decades, according to CMHC data released April 10.

A total of 2,486 homes were started in the month, with the majority of these – 2,044 units – being multi-family dwellings. The remaining 442 units were single-detached homes. By comparison, in March last year, 2,296 units were started, including 1,895 multi-family homes.

“Actual housing starts reached the highest level on record for March since 1972, driven by new apartment construction,” said CMHC market analyst Sandy Besporstov.

Despite the strong March data, the six-month moving average of seasonally adjusted annual rates dipped in the month; starts were trending at 22,552 units, down from 23,624 units in February.

“Vancouver housing starts trended lower for the fourth consecutive month but remained above the five-year average,” Besporstov said.

Across British Columbia as a whole, the actual number of starts reached 14,741 in the month, up from 11,322 in March 2016. The six-month moving average was 44,725 units.

“While the trend in B.C. housing starts continues to moderate from a record high in 2016, actual housing starts increased across most CMAs in March,” the CMHC said in a press release.

“Demand continues to outpace supply with a record number of new homes under construction across urban areas while inventories of completed and unsold new homes sit well below the historical average.”