Photo by Mike Gericke
Ontario has recorded three months of consecutive growth, as housing starts grew by 29% in February, hitting 62,000 units, which represents a remarkable increase from 48,400 units in January. While multi-family construction (condos, row houses and town homes) was most responsible for the growth, single detached housing overcame the expectations as well.
"Ontario new home starts activity has exhibited a seesaw pattern in recent months, suggesting the downtrend in activity since the spring of 2011 is levelling out," said CMHC's regional economist Ted Tsiakopoulos. He also believes that "Buoyant resale and new home market conditions since the final months of 2010 [and] an improving economy coupled with the fear of rising rates later this year implies housing starts should move convincingly higher by the second half."
The Toronto market played an important part in the housing starts increase with the condominium segment becoming the driving force behind the growth for the local construction industry this year, according to Shaun Hildebrand, CMHC's senior market analyst. Apart from that, current housing start statistics present good news after the disappointing building permit numbers in January, which showed a 19.5 per cent construction intentions decrease from December. Those figures are expected to start growing later this year, given the number of sales for multi-unit dwellings in the last quarter of 2010.
In the national measure, housing starts went up by 6.6 per cent to 181,900, with Ontario leading the way.