2017 strongest year in a decade for Canadian builders.

Last year was a blockbuster for Canada’s real estate developers after work began on the most homes in a decade amid soaring demand nationwide. Construction started on 219,675 units, according to 2017 data released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation earlier this week. That’s up from 197,916 in 2016 and the most since 2007. Starts on multiple-unit projects such as condos hit a record in figures dating to 1955. The boom has surprised policy makers and analysts, most of whom began the year predicting the industry would be a drag on the economy. It reflected fundamental drivers such as a buoyant economy and rising population. Robert Kavcic, an economist at Bank of Montreal in Toronto, said the strong year for housing starts was “backed by underlying demographic support and strengthening labor markets in the country’s largest provinces,” as quoted by Bloomberg. The 2017 surge was broad-based, with starts in Ontario at the highest level since 2004 and reaching records in British Columbia. They advanced in Alberta for the first time since the 2014 oil crash.

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