Housing Starts Drop 69% to 94 in October

Construction workers building homes at Green Alder Way in the city's south east. Housing starts were down nearly 70 per cent in October, according to CMHC.

Regina home builders started construction on 94 housing units in October, less than one third of the 305 total starts for the same period last year, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

The biggest decline was in multiple-unit housing, with only 55 multiple starts in October, down from 231 for the same month in 2014. Single-family housing starts totaled 39 last month, compared with 68 during the October of last year, CMHC said Monday.

For the year to date, total housing starts of 1,324 were down one-third from 2,004 starts during the first 10 months of 2014. Multiple units were down to 921 at the end of October from 1,383 during the same period in 2014, while single-family starts were down to 403 from 621 during the same period last year.

Compared with Regina’s 69 per cent drop in October, Saskatoon saw a more modest decline of 45 per cent, posting total starts of 146 versus 268 starts during the same period in 2014. For the year to date, Saskatoon’s total housing starts were down 39 per cent to 1,801 from 2,939 during the first 10 months of 2014. CMHC is forecasting total starts of 2,420 for Saskatoon in 2015.

Housing starts in the Regina area were trending at 1,818 units in October compared to 1,869 in September, according to CMHC’s six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of total housing starts. CMHC uses the trend measure to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of the state of the housing market.

“The decrease in the overall trend is consistent with our view that total housing starts in Regina will decline in 2015, as builders strive to reduce inventory in the face of moderating economic fundamentals,” said Goodson Mwale, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Saskatchewan. In its fall market outlook, CMHC forecast 1,800 starts in Regina in 2015.

The pace of new residential construction in Canada slowed down in October after a red-hot September, but the decline in housing starts wasn’t enough to change the upward trend over the past six months. The federal Crown corporation says last month’s seasonally adjusted rate of housing starts was 198,065 units, down from 231,304 in September — primarily because of fewer of multiple-unit project starts in urban areas.

CMHC says the decline in urban starts was seen in most regions of Canada, with British Columbia being the exception. The overall number of single-detached starts was up from September, but accounted for only 59,255 of the total. CMHC says the six-month trend in October continued to rise, going to 206,089 from 202,793 in September.

With files from The Canadian Press

Published on: November 9, 2015 | Last Updated: November 9, 2015 7:35 PM CST

Jenni Bast

Jenni Bast

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