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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation -CMHC--Housing starts
September 18, 2023

Canadian housing starts remain flat in August

In August, there was little change in the trend of housing construction, with a total of 244,507 housing units initiated. This marked a modest increase of 0.8% compared to July when 242,552 units were started. These insights come from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a trusted source in the housing market.

The “trend measure” used here is a six-month average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts across Canada. Looking specifically at the monthly SAAR, there was a 1% decrease in housing starts in August, totaling 252,787 units, compared to the previous month, which saw 255,232 units initiated.

Breaking this down further, urban housing starts, concentrated in areas with populations of over 10,000, also experienced a 1% drop in August, with 233,075 units being launched. Among these, multi-unit urban housing starts saw a 1% decrease to 191,250 units, while single-detached urban housing starts showed a 2% increase, reaching 41,825 units in August.

Regionally, there were noteworthy variations. Vancouver and Toronto saw declines of 12% and 20% in total SAAR housing starts in August, respectively. In contrast, Montreal witnessed a remarkable 41% increase, largely attributed to a significant 48% rise in multi-unit housing starts.

In rural areas, the monthly SAAR estimate for housing starts stood at 19,712 units.

What’s particularly interesting is the year-to-date performance of Toronto and Vancouver, which outperformed their previous year’s statistics. In 2023, housing starts in these cities were 28% and 47% higher, respectively, compared to the same period in 2022. This positive trend makes Ontario and British Columbia the only provinces in Canada with a surplus of year-to-date housing starts.

For more detailed information, you can refer to the official CMHC report.


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