Vancouver housing starts sink 37% in September

Multi-family projects main source of decline in home construction

Housing construction along King Edward Avenue in Vancouver | Photo: Chung Chow, BIV

Housing starts in Metro Vancouver firmly eased off the accelerator last month.

Data released Monday from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) also reveals home construction activity across B.C. dropped significantly in September as starts for multi-family housing plummeted.

The Crown corporation found the province’s seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of housing starts sunk 25% from 42,236 units in August to 31,532 in September.

“Among Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver was the only market not to register growth in total SAAR starts in September, due to a decline in the multi-family segment,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in a statement.

The national housing agency’s data shows Metro Vancouver’s SAAR dropped 37% month to month as starts fell from 22,394 units in August to 14,109 units in September.

But the CMHC noted analyzing only SAAR data can, in some situations, be misleading, as multi-unit housing projects largely drives the market and can vary significantly month to month.