Metro Vancouver housing starts rise 25% this year

Metro Vancouver’s housing starts were up 25 per cent for the first seven months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Statistics released Tuesday show that the number of starts increased to 10,010, up from 8,005 to the end of July.

Starts for the month of July totalled 1,538 in Metro Vancouver, a 37-per-cent increase from 1,124 in July 2010.

Most of the starts were in Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey and the city of Vancouver.

“The focus of new residential starts remains on multi-family construction, especially apartment condominiums,” CMHC senior market analyst Robyn Adamache said in a statement.

“In the first seven months of this year, 5,903 apartment starts were recorded, compared to 3,882 during the same period last year. A pickup in condominium sales as well as stable economic conditions gave developers the impetus to undertake such projects.”

CMHC also said that July’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 33 per cent in B.C. in July, well above the national average of 4.7 per cent and just below the Atlantic region’s 36.1 per cent.

Urban B.C. showed a 4.4-per-cent increase in the first seven months, from 13,274 to 13,852.

While Metro Vancouver showed a 25-per-cent increase over the seven-month period, Vernon and Chilliwack recorded sharp decreases in starts.

Nationally, housing starts rose in July due to an increase in multiple starts in all regions except Quebec, said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s market analysis centre. “The multiples sector showed continued strength in Ontario and a significant increase in British Columbia and in the Atlantic region,” he added.

According to CMHC, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of all starts nationally was 205,100 units in July, up from 196,600 units in June 2011.

The 4.3-per-cent rise was unexpected, setting the third quarter off to a strong start in new home construction and maintaining its role as a key support to the economy.

That is up from a downwardly revised 196,600 units in June, which were originally reported at 197,400 units.

The number of starts in July was above the average forecast of analysts who had called for 196,000 starts.

“Today’s report and the recent resilience of both permits and sales suggest housing continues to be one of the economy’s strongest sectors, although sentiment among purchasers obviously remains vulnerable to recent market turmoil.”

The housing sector has long been a source of support for the Canadian economy, helping draw it out of the recession, while other global economies have suffered at the hands of a weak housing market, particularly in the U.S.

Source: Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

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