Housing starts – driven by multi-units – surpassed predictions in March, according to the latest numbers from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The annual rate of housing starts was 215,600 units in March, according to the federal agency, up five per cent over February.
“The upward movement in March was largely due to an increase in multiple starts, particularly in Ontario and the Prairies," said CMHC's deputy chief economist, Mathieu Laberge. "This was partly offset by a decrease in multiple starts in British Columbia and Quebec, while single-detached starts decreased marginally country-wide.”
The annual rate of urban starts increased by 4.2 per cent to 192,100 units in March. Urban single starts were down by 2.4 per cent in March to 68,000 units. Meanwhile, multiple urban starts were up by 8.3 per cent to 124,100 units.
March’s annual rate of urban starts increased by 30.3 per cent in Ontario, by 6.4 per cent in the Prairies, and by 2.7 per cent in Atlantic Canada. In each of these regions, the increase was due to multiple starts, but the role of increased multiple starts was most pronounced in Ontario. Although multiple starts in Ontario increased by 50.4 per cent, the pace is exceptional and not expected to be sustained. Urban starts decreased by 27.7 per cent in British Columbia and by 16.3 per cent in Québec.