CMHC forecast: Western Canada

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The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its fourth quarter housing outlook last week and in part one of our four-part series, we take a look at what the organization foresees for Western Canada.

British Columbia

An increase in first-time homebuyers and landed immigrants is expected to drive the 2014 British Columbia housing market, with the addition of 31,000 households.

Single starts

Originally projected at 8,400 starts earlier this year, CMHC has re-forecast its outlook and now believes the province will break ground on 9,200 single-family homes in 2014. And while single-family homes have traditionally accounted for 40 per cent of all starts in the province, that percentage is expected to drop in 2014.

“Single-detached starts, which accounted for 40 per cent of starts during the last ten years, will make up just over one-third of housing starts in British Columbia next year, as the focus of new home construction has shifted to more dense housing types,” the report states.

Multiple starts

Multi-family housing starts petered off slightly in 2013 from 2012 and 18,400 starts are now forecast for 2013. The rate is expected to hold steady in 2014, with 18,700 starts expected for next year.


Housing starts have risen slightly each year following a boom in 2012 and next year is expected to follow the trend.

Single starts

2014 is expected to outpace 2013, with 19,100 units expected to be started next year. For its part, 2013 is expected to hit 18,300 single-family units.

“In markets such as Calgary, which are experiencing tighter resale market conditions, expect more buyers to look to the new home market to satisfy their housing needs,” the report states. “In both 2013 and 2014, single-detached starts are expected to rise in most of Alberta’s seven largest urban centres.”

Multiple starts

15,900 multiple family starts are expected for 2013 and the number is expected to hold steady at 15,800 for 2014.

Calgary’s two major cities will move in opposite directions, with Edmonton’s multi-family starts decreasing over prior year compared to an expected boom in Calgary.

“Edmonton’s multi-family production will pull back after several years of elevated production due to heightened supply levels,” the report stated. “Meanwhile, after declining in 2013, Calgary’s multi-family starts will rise substantially in 2014.”

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