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National housing starts down 7 per cent in 2023

DCN-JOC News Services
National housing starts down 7 per cent in 2023

OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has reported that actual 2023 housing starts were down seven per cent in centres with a population of 10,000 and over across Canada in 2023.

A total of 223,513 housing starts were recorded, compared to 240,590 in 2022, according to data released Jan. 16.  

The decline is primarily due to a 25-per-cent decline in single-detached starts in 2023.

Despite the national decline, actual 2023 housing starts were five per cent and 28 per cent higher than in 2022 in Toronto and Vancouver, respectively, driven by higher multi-unit starts. Montreal starts were 37 per cent lower due to large declines in both single-detached and multi-unit starts in 2023. 

The six-month trend in housing starts was also lower in December at 249,898 units, down 2.1 per cent from 255,198 units in November. The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.

The monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada increased 18 per cent in December (249,255 units) compared to November (210,918 units). The monthly SAAR of total urban (centres 10,000 population and over) housing starts increased 20 per cent, with 234,705 units recorded. Multi-unit urban starts increased 26 per cent to 191,463 units, while single-detached urban starts decreased two per cent to 43,242 units.

Total SAAR housing starts were down 35 per cent in Toronto, driven by a significant decline in multi-unit starts. Montreal and Vancouver posted gains of 66 per cent and 92 per cent respectively, due to sizeable increases in multi-unit starts.

“Following record and near-record highs in 2021 and 2022, housing starts dipped in 2023, but still significantly outperformed expectations for the year,” said the CMHC’s chief economist Bob Dugan in a release. “The decline was driven mainly by a sharp drop-off in single-detached starts and tighter economic conditions affecting multi-unit starts in the year’s final quarter.

“The recent monthly multi-unit volatility is not surprising as we’re now starting to see 2023’s challenging borrowing conditions and labour shortages in the housing starts numbers and we expect to see continued downward pressure in the coming months.”

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