Canada Housing Starts Hit Highest Level this Year

The annual pace of housing starts in May climbed 10 per cent compared with April, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The housing agency credited the country’s two most populous cities for the increase, with starts in Toronto up 26 per cent and Montreal up 200 per cent year-over-year. Montreal’s total starts result was driven by a 59 per cent increase in single-detached starts and a 218 per cent increase in multi-unit starts versus May 2023.

“The focus for homebuilders remains on multi-unit construction in Canada’s major centres as both the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) and trend of housing starts increased in May, following two consecutive months of decline,” says Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “This was due to growth in actual year-over-year starts, driven by significantly higher multi-unit starts, particularly in Montreal and Quebec. While this is good news for housing supply, we do expect downward pressure on starts through the rest of 2024.”

The six-month trend in housing starts increased 3.8 per cent to 247,830 units in May, from 238,859 units in April. The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.

The actual number of housing starts across Canada in urban centres with a population of at least 10,000 was up 39 per cent year-over-year to 21,652 units in May. This increase was driven by higher multi-unit starts and higher single-detached starts, up 49 per cent and six per cent, respectively.

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