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Housing starts hit downward SAAR trend

By Adam Freill   


CMHC reports a two per cent dip in the trend line, along with a drop of 10 per cent in SAAR starts in January, but rise in actual starts.

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

Housing starts and the housing start trend were both down in January. According to figures shared by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), based on the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR), total housing starts decreased by 10 per cent in January, landing at 223,589 units. That figure sat at 248,968 units in December.

The six-month trend in housing starts, a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR, was also on the decline in January, falling from 249,757 units in December to 244,827 units, a 2 per cent drop.

Despite the negative figures, the actual number of housing starts across Canada in centres with populations of at least 10,000 was up in January. With 14,878 units in January 2024, starts were up 13 per cent compared to the 13,220 units started in January of last year. The year-over-year increase was driven by high multi-unit starts.

Actual housing starts were 49 per cent higher year-over-year in Toronto but were 44 per cent and six per cent lower in Vancouver and Montreal, respectively. This suggests many other metropolitan areas made significant contributions to total housing starts in January 2024.


“The SAAR of housing starts declined in January pushing the trend down for the second consecutive month. Despite the trend performance, actual starts saw strong year-over-year growth, driven by high multi-unit starts, particularly in Toronto,” stated Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “In fact, from a historical perspective, we observed the second highest number of housing starts for the month of January going back to 1990.”

Total SAAR housing starts were up 179 per cent in Toronto, driven by a significant increase in multi-unit starts. Montreal and Vancouver both posted declines of 28 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively, due to sizeable decreases in multi-unit starts.




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