Housing Starts On-trend to Return to Pre-pandemic Levels

Canadian housing starts declined 11 per cent in March, from February, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

The standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for all areas in Canada was 213,865 units, compared to 240,927 units in the previous month.

“Despite the national decline in March, the SAAR of housing starts and the trend appear to be returning to pre-pandemic levels,” says CMHC’s chief economist, Bob Dugan. “With interest rates remaining high, it continues to be challenging for developers and homebuilders to get projects started. We will need to find innovative ways to deliver more housing supply to keep up with demand and ultimately improve affordability.”

The monthly SAAR of total urban starts declined 12 per cent, with 192,545 units recorded in March. Multi-unit developments increased 11 per cent to 151,769 units, while single-family detached homes decreased 16 per cent to 40,776 units.

Among Canada’s largest urban areas, only Vancouver recorded an increase in total housing starts, up 98 per cent due to more than twice as many multi-unit starts compared to February. Toronto and Montreal declined 26 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.

Rural starts were estimated at 21,320 units.

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