Darren Day

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Canadian Housing Starts and Employment - March 8, 2013

Housing Starts

Following a woefully low 158,000 units in January, Canadian housing starts registered 180,719 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in February. However, new home construction is trending lower. On a year-over-year basis, housing starts were down 10.5 per cent. 

New home construction in BC urban centres rose 2.1 per cent month-over-month in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 22,000 units.  However, on a year-over-year basis, total starts were 29 per cent lower than February 2012. Single-detached starts were 29 per cent higher over last year, while multiples fell 40 per cent compared to February 2012. 

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC, Vancouver CMA starts fell 41 per cent year-over-year in February. Single-detached starts were 43 per cent higher than last year, while multiples were almost 50 per cent lower.  New home construction in the Abbotsford CMA was up 86 per cent compared to February  2012 due to a burst of activity in multiples starts. Similarly, housing starts in the Kelowna CMA shot up 89 per cent over last year. In the Victoria CMA, total starts dipped 1 per cent. 


After a slight decline in January, hiring in the Canadian economy picked up in February adding 51,000 new jobs. The National unemployment rate remains at 7 per cent. 

After sputtering to start the year, employment growth in BC jumped in February. Employment in BC expanded by 19,800 jobs in February, including 13,500 full-time jobs. The BC unemployment rate remained constant at 6.3 per cent. 

For more information, please contact: 

Cameron Muir Brendon Ogmundson
Chief Economist Economist


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Darren Day
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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.