Housing starts down 7 per cent
By Adam FreillConstruction Residential
17,000 fewer housing units started in 2023 compared to 2022, reports Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Housing starts were down seven per cent last year, compared to 2022, reported Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in its look at the sector’s December results. The drop, based on figures from centres of 10,000 population and over, indicated that 223,513 unit starts were recorded for the year, compared to 240,590 in 2022. CMHC explained the biggest contributor to the decline was a 25 per cent drop in single-detached starts in 2023.
Despite the national decline, actual 2023 housing starts were up by five per cent and 28 per cent compared to 2022 for Toronto and Vancouver, respectively. Growth in both cities was driven by higher multi-unit starts. Montreal starts were 37 per cent lower, as large declines hit both single-detached and multi-unit starts.
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).
“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,” stated 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.”