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Canadian Housing Starts - January 9, 2014

Canadian housing starts declined in December from 197,797 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) to 189,672 units SAAR. A decline of 4.2 per cent.  The trend in Canadian new home construction also declined slightly to 195,760 units SAAR over the past six months, a rate that is slightly higher than demographic demand suggests is needed.  For all of 2013, Canadian housing starts in urban centres were down 12 per cent compared to 2012.

New home construction in BC urban centres increased 14.5 per cent in December to 30,886 units SAAR. A ramp-up in new home construction to end the year pushed total starts for 2013 higher by 1 per cent compared with 2012 at 25,685 units. Single family units finished the year up 8 per cent while multiple unit starts declined 2 per cent. 


Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC, total starts in the Vancouver CMA jumped 47 per cent year-over-year in December to finish 2013 at 18,696 units, a decline of 1 per cent over last year.  In the Victoria CMA, total starts were nearly quadruple that of December 2012 and finished the year down 1 per cent at 1,685 units. New home construction in the Kelowna CMA were up 59 per cent in December and posted 1,013 total starts in 2013, the first time since the 2008/09 recession that Kelowna new home construction has cleared the 1000 start threshold.   Housing starts also posted large gains in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA in December. New home construction doubled in that area in 2013 at 749 total starts.  

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