Housing construction starts in Metro Vancouver up by 50% this year to date

Housing construction starts in Metro Vancouver up by 50% this year to date

New data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shows actual housing starts in Metro Vancouver over the first seven months of 2023 through the end of July were up by 50% compared to the same period in 2022.

A total of 211 single-family detached housing starts were recorded in July 2023 — down from 276 in July 2022.

But for all other housing types, a broad category that includes apartments, CMHC recorded 2,751 actual housing starts in July 2023 — up from 1,700 over the same month last year.

The total number of housing starts in Metro Vancouver in July 2023 reached 2,962 units — up from 1,976 in July 2022.

Province-wide, British Columbia saw a total of 4,002 housing starts in July 2023 — slightly up from 2,798 units in July 2022.

Generally, housing starts are defined as the beginning of construction work on the building.


For housing starts seasonally adjusted at annual rates (SAAR), based on a six-month moving average, CMHC recorded a total of 35,438 units in Metro Vancouver as of July 2023 — down from 46,282 in June 2022. Provincially, this rate was down by 25% to 47,730 units.

Nationwide, housing starts SAAR in July 2023 increased for the second consecutive month.

“Despite a decrease in the SAAR of housing starts relative to last month, July saw a healthy number of actual housing starts from a historical perspective. This pushed the trend of housing starts upward for the second consecutive month. Market intelligence suggests multi-unit projects started in June and July were likely financed a few months prior, so the effect of the most recent interest rate hikes on housing starts remains to be seen,” said Bob Dugan, the chief economist of CMHC, in a statement.

According to MLA Canada’s separate account for the combined areas of the real estate boards of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, there were five pre-sale project launches in July 2023 with a combined total of 326 pre-sale units. This is down from their June 2023 tally of 16 project launches with a combined total of 1,849 pre-sale units.


The pre-sale sold rate in July 2023 was 33%.

For August 2023, MLA Canada is forecasting four project launches with 804 pre-sale units, including 634 concrete units, 40 woodframe units, and 130 townhome units. The project launches at Shape Properties’ City of Lougheed and Anthem Properties’ Citizen are expected to drive August’s higher numbers.

“As predicted, a number of projects rushed to release in June before the summer slowdown. After hitting a monthly high for released inventory, July saw significantly less product typical of the summer season, and August is expected to be similar,” said Suzana Goncalves with MLA Canada in a statement.

“There is some current optimism driving a number of potential launches in the Fall but a looming Bank of Canada announcement early September is still creating some trepidation among developers while buyers look for long-term, pre-sale purchase opportunities.”


Comparable to Metro Vancouver, Greater Toronto also similarly saw a decrease in its housing starts SAAR, falling by 29% in July 2023. Conversely, over the same month, the regions of Montreal went up by 12%, Calgary went up by 33%, and Edmonton went up by 67%.

Actual 2023 year-to-date housing starts in Greater Toronto were 35% above the same first seven months in 2022.

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