Housing Starts in Major Cities – Rising Appartment

Detached homes declining – Single-housing starts down 10%

Between 2001 and 2003, 65% of all foundations poured in the city were for single-detached homes, while only 21% were for apartments, including rental properties.  Since 2006, however, the share of single-detached homes has shrunk to 54%, while apartments now occupy nearly one third, or 32%, of total housing starts.

Spiking prices — Calgary, until recently, was one of the hottest real estate markets in the country — is the primary reason for this structural shift.  The share of single-detached homes as a proportion of Calgary’s housing starts has dropped more than 10% so far this decade, says a market analysis released yesterday by real estate consulting firm Altus Group, largely to the benefit of apartments.

Almost all other urban centres included in the study, with the exception of Saskatoon, saw a relative decline of single-detached housing starts during that period.

In Canada’s three largest cities, apartments have long been a more prominent presence.  In Vancouver, the most extreme example, apartments now make up 60% of all housing starts, up from 47% earlier this decade, while the proportion of single-detached starts has shrunk to 23% from 35%.

In Toronto and Montreal, apartments now make up 42% and 58% of total housing starts, respectively.  Winnipeg remains the undisputed champion of single-family housing, with 60% of that housing type making up total housing starts.

But even here, the signs of structural change are evident, as only five years ago, single- detached homes occupied a 77% share.  Saskatoon was the only city to fly in the face of this national trend, as the share of single-detached starts rose to 59% from 50%.

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