The Canadian housing market continues to thrive, as newly released data makes abundantly clear.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports that housing starts in March surged to 215,600 units, well ahead of the 205,300 properties started in February.
Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre, said housing starts were highly concentrated in certain portions of the country.
"The upward movement in March was largely due to an increase in multiple starts, particularly in Ontario and the Prairies," said Laberge.
He added that starts would have been even higher, but there was a decrease in multiple starts in British Columbia and Quebec.
Housing starts in urban areas also showed significant growth in the last month. CMHC noted that urban starts grew by more than 30 per cent in March in Ontario, 6.4 per cent in the Prairies and nearly 3 per cent in the Atlantic provinces on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis. Meanwhile, the only places where urban starts slowed was in British Columbia and Quebec, by 28 and 16 per cent, respectively.
Given the strong state of the country's housing sector, this may help explain why so many people are confident about the housing market's potential going forward.
The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of BMO Bank of Montreal, found that a whopping 85 per cent of homeowners believe their housing values will hold steady in their area for the foreseeable future. In addition, more than one in four - 27 per cent - said they plan to buy or sell in the next year. More than half said they anticipate the real estate market becoming more expensive within the next two years, despite mortgage rates at historic lows.
"Traditionally spring marks the busiest time of year for real estate - particularly here in Canada, where the market has continued to show solid signs of growth," said Archdekin. "Whether you're planning to buy a single-family home or a condo, understanding the current market conditions and having a firm hold on the trends at play is essential."
The report also revealed what homeowners intentions are this year with their properties in terms of renovations. Real estate expert Conrad Zurini noted that last year, many buyers were looking to revamp their properties with innovative technologies and accoutrements. That's not the case this year, though, as house hunters appear to be looking for properties that are more move-in ready.
Low mortgage rates can be had by many of these prospective owners, as the Bank of Canada has announced it will maintain the overnight rate target at 1 per cent. This means variable-rate mortgages should remain roughly the same.