BCREA: March Canadian Housing Starts

April 21, 2021

BRITISH COLUMBIA – Canadian housing starts increased 21.6 per cent m/m to 335,200k units in March at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), after declining in February. Building activity was up month-over-month in both multi-unit (+34 per cent) and single-detached (+4 per cent) segments.

On a year-over-year basis, starts were up 70 per cent, though this measure will become quite distorted by base-year effects going forward as we compare to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The six-month moving average in Canadian housing starts stands at a very strong 273,664 units SAAR.

In BC, housing starts increased by 57 per cent m/m to a record high 71.2K units SAAR, following an increase of 21 per cent in the previous month. That remarkable jump in new home construction was the product of a flood of building activity in the multi-unit segment, which was up by 77 per cent, while single-detached starts were up 7 per cent.

The rise in the multi-unit segment was led by Vancouver, which reported a 71 per cent increase in multi-unit starts in March to an all-time record of 3,120 units or 41K units SAAR.  On a year-over-year basis, total housing starts were up by 106 per cent in BC.

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