Housing starts surge forward
By Adam FreillConstruction Residential
After falling more than 10 per cent in March, April’s SAAR of housing starts jumped 22 per cent on strength in the multi-unit segment.
The standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts for all areas in Canada increased 22 per cent in April, reports Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The rise to 261,559 units was a considerable turnaround compared to the 213,780 starts in the March SAAR figures.
Despite the rising SAAR, the trend in housing starts was essentially flat in April, with the six-month moving average of Canada’s monthly SAAR landing at 240,403 units, down marginally from its 240,876 units in March.
The monthly SAAR of urban starts in centres with a population of at least 10,000 increased 26 per cent, with 241,585 units recorded in April. Multi-unit urban starts increased 33 per cent to 201,621 units, while single-detached urban starts decreased two per cent to 39,964 units.
The Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal CMAs all recorded increases in total SAAR housing starts in April. Vancouver was up 36 per cent; Toronto 54 per cent; and Montreal 43 per cent. Both Toronto and Montreal recorded declines in single-detached starts that were offset by large increases in multi-unit starts. Vancouver posted increases in both segments.
“While both the SAAR of housing starts and the trend have returned to levels observed before the pandemic, housing starts are expected to drop significantly in 2023 before seeing some recovery in 2024 and 2025, according to our latest forecast,” stated Aled ab Iorwerth, CMHC’s deputy chief economist. “The expected decline is due to constraints in new construction, including labour shortages, as well as higher construction and borrowing costs for housing developers.”