Single-family starts will surpass 2003: already well ahead of last year’s pace

Despite a significant drop in housing starts last month, year-to-date construction totals in Winnipeg and the surrounding 

municipalities were still four per cent greater than a year ago, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In October, new home starts at 210 units were just over half the total of October 2003.

Year-to-date, the total was 2,188 units compared to 2,095 last year.

Single-family housing continues to underpin activity this year, according to CMHA. There were 193 single-family starts in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, which is almost 21 per cent more than October 2003. Activity was up both inside and outside Winnipeg’s city limits.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 1,624 single-family housing starts in the Winnipeg CMA, which is 17 per cent more than the same time last year.

“With two months still to go in 2004, single-family starts in the Winnipeg CMA have almost matched the total for 2003, and will easily surpass 1,800 starts this year,” said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s 

senior market analyst for Manitoba.

Multiple-family starts slowed considerably in the past month after a flurry of activity earlier this summer. Only 17 units were started in October, compared to 258 units in the same month last year. As a result, multiple-family starts year-to-date at 564 are now 20 per cent behind the number of units commenced in 2003.

“Last year, multiple-family starts were the highest since 1989 and it will be difficult to repeat those numbers,” said Himbeault. “But, starts are expected to remain well above average this year and next, fuelled mainly by demand in the seniors’ market.”

Nationally, the seasonally-adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 225,000 in October, down from 237,900 in September, according to CMHC.

“Strong housing starts reflect high levels of new home construction across the country,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist 

at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “Favourable economic factors such as  recent growth in full-time employment and low mortgage rates, continue to stimulate residential construction activity. 

“Housing starts continue on pace to reach a 17-year high this year.”

October housing starts in Canada’s 

urban centres decreased four per cent to 

a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 196,500 units as both single- and multi-family sectors moved lower. Urban single-detached starts fell by 4.2 per cent to 102,200 in October while urban multiple starts decreased 3.8 per cent to 94,300.

Urban housing starts in October declined in every region except Quebec and the Prairies where seasonally-adjusted annual rates increased 5.4 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively. 

The majority of the decrease, in seasonally-adjusted annual urban housing starts, occurred in British Columbia with a 21.2 per cent decline in starts, and the Atlantic region where urban housing starts decreased 13.7 per cent. In both British 

Columbia and the Atlantic region, the decline was mainly due to multiples. Urban starts declined by 3.8 per cent in Ontario.

The estimated number of seasonally-

adjusted annualized starts in Canada’s rural areas was 28,500 units.

For the first 10 months of this year, 

actual urban starts increased 5.3 per cent compared with the same period last year (from 160,905 to 169,446 starts). Single starts rose 4.6 per cent while multiple starts are up 6.1 per cent.