Canadian Housing Starts Flatline in August

Canada’s housing starts showed little change in August, edging up slightly by 0.8% to 244,507 units from July’s 242,552 units.

According to the CMHC, urban starts fell 1% last month to 233,075 units, while multi-unit urban starts also decreased by 1% to 191,250 units. However, there was a glimmer of positivity as single-detached urban starts saw a 2% surge, recording 41,825 units for August.

Housing Starts in Canada – All Areas (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC))

Cities showcased varied performances, with Vancouver and Toronto reporting declines in housing starts of 12% and 20% respectively. In contrast, Montreal noted a whopping 41% increase, predominantly propelled by a 48% surge in multi-unit starts. For rural areas, the monthly SAAR was estimated at 19,712 units.

Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist, noted that although housing starts in 2023 have been relatively consistent month-to-month, a general downward trend is noticeable, excluding Ontario and British Columbia.

“The one bright spot in Canada has been multi-unit starts which have helped offset significant declines recorded in single-detached starts in all provinces this year. Market intelligence suggests multi-unit projects started during the busy summer months were likely financed a few months prior, so the full effect of higher interest rates on construction activity remains to be seen,” he explained.

Highlighting the bigger picture, Toronto and Vancouver have demonstrated resilience this year, as their housing starts for 2023 were notably higher by 28% and 47% respectively, compared to the same timeframe in 2022. Consequently, Ontario and British Columbia stand out as the sole provinces showcasing positive housing start trends this year.

Information for this story was found via the CMHC. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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