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Metropolitan housing starts: March 2020

Expectations little changed but pandemic may reduce short-term demand



Jane McIntyre    By Jane McIntyre
   Senior Economist
  • There are six census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with positive short- and long-term expectations, the same number as last month.
  • The emerging COVID-19 virus pandemic could threaten positive expectations in the short term. More people are likely to delay buying as they self-isolate, and are faced with lower investment returns that could be used for down payments.
  • Some of this downward risk, however, will be mitigated by lower interest rates.
  • The CMAs with the biggest year-over-year percentage increases in housing starts in February were Saint John, Kingston, Oshawa, Hamilton, and Kitchener–Waterloo.
  • Thunder Bay had the biggest year-over-year percentage decrease in housing starts last month.

Expectations quadrant


 Long Term header
 
Short Term header
  • St. John's
  • Sudbury
  • Regina
  • Saskatoon
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton



 
  • Halifax
  • Québec City
  • Montréal
  • Trois-Rivières
  • Sherbrooke
  • Ottawa–Gatineau
  • St. Catharines–Niagara
  • Kitchener–Waterloo
  • London
  • Windsor
  • Victoria
  • Abbotsford–Mission
 

  
  • Thunder Bay
  • Oshawa
  • Toronto
  • Hamilton
  • Winnipeg
 
  • Saint John
  • Moncton
  • Saguenay
  • Kingston
  • Vancouver

Note: Positioning in the quadrant indicates short- and long-term expectations for each CMA’s housing market. The best position would be in the Up-Up quadrant, which shows positive prospects for both short- and long-term growth. The worst position would be in the Down-Down quadrant.
Sources: The Conference Board of Canada; CMHC Housing Time Series Database.


Metropolitan housing starts

 

Expectations

Year ago

6–Mon. MA

3–Mon. MA

Feb 2020

Short term*

Long term**

St. John’s 347 522 425 357 + +
Halifax 2,904 2,954 3,820 5,800 + -
Saint John 81 433 387 697 - -
Moncton 167 1,148 391 407 - -
Québec CMA 1,603 5,963 3,409 2,511 + -
Montréal 14,968 23,089 22,454 19,779 + -
Trois-Rivières 367 751 497 554 + -
Saguenay 304 693 576 313 - -
Sherbrooke 3,860 2,065 2,015 891 + -
Ottawa–Gatineau 11,480 13,609 12,012 17,011 + -
Kingston 70 1,221 493 488 - -
Greater Sudbury 133 133 104 135 + +
Thunder Bay 1,358 226 114 115 - +
Oshawa 472 1,818 2,226 2,464 - +
Toronto 20,452 28,788 28,014 30,861 - +
Hamilton 1,910 4,149 3,210 7,061 - +
St. Catharines–Niagara 2,089 3,112 2,544 2,522 + -
Kitchener–Waterloo 1,125 5,715 5,153 3,617 + -
London 1,191 3,276 3,570 2,926 + -
Windsor 895 1,082 888 1,137 + -
Winnipeg 3,967 4,400 4,705 4,099 - +
Regina 363 713 681 839 + +
Saskatoon 723 1,623 1,670 985 + +
Calgary 7,754 13,617 14,291 8,517 + +
Edmonton 7,759 9,739 8,925 8,282 + +
Vancouver 25,035 21,577 20,483 20,573 - -
Victoria 4,148 3,995 3,281 5,897 + -
Abbotsford–Mission 1,496 2,375 2,742 2,727 + -

Starts seasonally adjusted, annual rate.
*short-term expectations are based on residential permits data
**long-term expectations are based on demographic requirements
Sources: The Conference Board of Canada; CMHC Housing Time Series Database.



Disclaimer:
Forecasts and research often involve numerous assumptions and data sources and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties.

The spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created uncertainty in all global markets. We’re doing our best to provide timely updates, but information can fall out of date quickly. All products related to our COVID-19 coverage will be available for free on our website. To access them, go to conferenceboard.ca. The Conference Board of Canada reserves the right to adjust content as necessary.


Any errors or omissions in fact or interpretation are the responsibility of The Conference Board of Canada.

 


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April 2020



About the Metropolitan housing starts

The monthly Metropolitan housing starts publication provides the recent trends in housing starts for 28 metropolitan areas and expectations for starts over both the short and long term.


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