Toronto condo starts hit 30-year high to lead Canadian home surge

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Canadian housing starts surged in June to one of the highest levels over the past decade, driven by new condominium developments in Toronto that reached a 30-year high for the month.

Housing starts jumped 30 per cent to an annualized 248,138 units, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) said Tuesday. Multiple-unit urban starts were up 46 per cent, with a 231-per-cent increase in Toronto for that segment of the market.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of housing starts increased in June, boosted by a jump in multi-unit projects. A condo building is seen under construction surrounded by houses as condo towers are seen in the distance in Vancouver in this March file photo.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of housing starts increased in June, boosted by a jump in multi-unit projects. A condo building is seen under construction surrounded by houses as condo towers are seen in the distance in Vancouver in this March file photo.  (DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)

The June numbers reveal a resiliency that continues to surprise policy-makers and analysts, particularly since sales in some of the country’s priciest real estate markets have been cooling. Economists forecast annualized housing starts of 210,000 units in June, from 193,902 in May. Demand for condos seems to be high given low levels of inventory, the Ottawa-based housing agency said.

“The national inventory of newly completed and unabsorbed multi-unit dwellings has remained below its 10-year historical average so far in 2018, indicating that demand for this type of unit has absorbed increased supply,” Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist said in a statement.

Montreal, Canada’s second largest city, also posted strong gains, with a 68-per-cent jump in annualized multiple-unit construction. Vancouver recorded declines last month.

In a separate report, Statistics Canada reported more evidence the market remains firm amid higher interest rates and stricter mortgage rules, with building permits for new Canadian homes reaching the second-high value on record in May.

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