New houses being built in Surrey, Langley and Burnaby helped push the Lower Mainland's October housing starts slightly higher than the same month a year ago.
In British Columbia, October's seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban housing starts moved slightly higher to 27,800 units from 27,400 units in the previous month according to the latest data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canada's national housing agency.
"So far this year, housing starts have been strong, higher than the same period last year," said Robyn Adamache, CMHC's senior market analyst, in a press release. "Multi family construction, including purpose-built rental projects, led the way during the first ten months of the year. Most construction during the first ten months of the year was in the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, and Surrey."
Countrywide, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of total housing starts decreased to 207,600 units in October, from 208,800 units in September.
Seasonally adjusted annual rates are monthly housing starts figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels.
The CMHC says this adjustment facilitates the comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historic annual levels.
Better housing forecast
B.C.'s Multiple Listing Service has forecasted a 3.2 per cent rise in residential real estate sales this year compared to last.
The B.C. MLS projects 77,000 units will be sold this year, up from 74,640 units sold in 2010. It also projects a further 3.9 per cent increase next year to 80,000 residential units sold.
“Low mortgage interest rates are expected to persist through 2012 keeping affordability on an even keel,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, in a press release. “However, headwinds on the economic front will constrain consumer demand over the next year to below the ten-year average of 87,600 units.”
A record 106,300 residential sales were recorded by the MLS in 2005.
“Moderate consumer demand combined with larger inventories of homes for sale means BC housing markets will experience little upward pressure on home prices through 2012,” Muir said.
"The average MLS residential price in the province is estimated to rise 11.8 per cent to $564,600 this year, and is forecast to decline 2.5 per cent to $550,500 in 2012."