Housing starts picked up in April, CMHC report

The pace of housing starts in Canada beat expectations in April as they rose more than 20 per cent compared with March.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts increased to 235,460 units in April, up 22.6 per cent from 191,981 in March.

Economists had expected an annual pace of 196,400, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The overall increase came as the annual pace of urban multiple-unit projects such as condominiums, apartments and townhouses increased 29.6 per cent to 175,732 in April. Single-detached urban starts increased 6.0 per cent to 44,655.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15,073 units.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates was 206,103 in April, up from 202,420 in March.

Toronto housing starts were slightly lower in April mainly because of lower condominium and single-detached home starts. Starts in the Quebec metropolitan area have been trending downward since the beginning of the year, mainly because of a decline in construction of new rental units.

Starts were up in Calgary due mostly to a year-over-year increase in row-home construction. In Vancouver, starts trended higher despite a year-over-year decline. Year-to-date multi-family units increased three per cent compared to the same period in 2018, the report said. 

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