- Nova Scotia Canada - Government of Nova Scotia

Home > Economics and Statistics > Selected Daily Stats Article
For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

June 09, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, comparisons of year-to-date averages and sums do not show Nova Scotia’s rapidly-changing economic situation.  The DailyStats will focus on year-over-year comparisons, comparing one month with the same month in the prior year.  Where possible the DailyStats will make comparisons of seasonally adjusted data from the pre-COVID-19 period (January and February 2020) with the period during which COVID-19 measures were in place from March 2020 onwards.

Nova Scotia's housing starts (seasonally adjusted annualized rate) totalled 4,205 in May 2020, up by 33.4 per cent from 3,152 in April 2020. Compared to May 2019, Nova Scotia housing starts were up by 15.4 per cent.

Housing starts increased 81.9 per cent in Halifax from 1,502 in April 2020 to 2,732 in May 2020. Halifax starts were up by 15.7 per cent compared to May 2019.

Outside Halifax, Nova Scotia's housing starts declined 10.7 per cent from 1,650 in April 2020 to 1,473 in May 2020. Compared to May 2019, housing starts outside Halifax were up by 14.8 per cent.

The six-month moving average of housing starts in Nova Scotia and Halifax shows similar trends. Following an upwards trend in summer months, housing starts have been trending down since fall 2019. The trends outside Halifax are different, with a rise in starts in the first half of 2018 followed by a decline over the next year.  Since then, housing starts outside Halifax have been rising.

In urban areas, housing starts for multiples are generally higher than for singles with greater variability month-to-month. The six-month moving average for singles has been increasing since the first quarter of 2019.  The pace of multiple starts in urban areas has been more volatile, with peaks in summer of 2018 and summer of 2019. 

Nationally, housing starts increased 16.2 per cent to 193,453 in May 2020 compared to 166,477 in April 2020. Among all provinces, Prince Edward Island posted the highest monthly increase (+48.4 per cent), while Ontario experienced the largest monthly decline (-39.3 per cent) in housing starts in May 2020.

Compared to May 2019, housing starts were down 1.3 per cent across Canada. Five provinces reported annual declines with Manitoba posting the largest decline (-51.7 per cent). Housing starts were up in five provinces led by New Brunswick (+60.0 per cent). 

Note: Urban areas are defined as areas over 10,000 people

Table  34-10-0158-01   Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing starts, all areas, Canada and provinces, seasonally adjusted at annual rates, monthly (x 1,000)

Table  34-10-0156-01   Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing starts in all centres 10,000 and over, Canada, provinces, and census metropolitan areas, seasonally adjusted at annual rates, monthly (x 1,000)