Housing starts down seven per cent in 2023 from 2022: CMHC

A report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has revealed that actual 2023 housing starts were down seven per cent nationally in centres of 10,000 population and over, with 223,513 units recorded, compared to 240,590 in 2022. According to the report, this decline is primarily explained by a 25 per cent decline in single-detached starts in 2023. The report noted, however, that despite the national decline, actual 2023 housing starts were 5 per cent and 28 per cent higher than in 2022 in Toronto and Vancouver, respectively, and were driven by higher multi-unit starts.

Montreal starts were 37 per cent lower, according to the report, due to large declines in both single-detached and multi-unit starts in 2023.“Following record and near-record highs in 2021 and 2022, housing starts dipped in 2023, but still significantly outperformed expectations for the year. 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,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist.

“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.”

According to the report, 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 report noted that 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 report also noted that the monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada increased 18 per cent in December compared to November.

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