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 Canadian Housing Starts Dip in January 2024: CMHC Reports 10% Decrease
[Feb 27, 2024]

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported a significant 10% decrease in the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of housing starts across Canada for January 2024, compared to December 2023. This decrease marks a notable shift from 248,968 units in December 2023 to 223,589 units in January 2024. Furthermore, the six-month trend in housing starts also experienced a downturn, dropping by 2% from 249,757 units in December 2023 to 244,827 units in January 2024. This trend measure, a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR, indicates a continuous adjustment in the pace of new housing construction.

Despite the overall decline, the actual number of housing starts in urban centres with a population over 10,000 witnessed a 13% year-over-year increase in January 2024, jumping to 14,878 units from 13,220 units in January 2023. This growth is primarily attributed to a surge in multi-unit starts, particularly noticeable in Toronto. Toronto¡¯s housing starts skyrocketed by 49% on a year-over-year basis, marking a significant contribution to the overall number of housing starts for the month. Conversely, Vancouver and Montreal saw decreases in their housing starts by 44% and 6%, respectively, highlighting the variability across different metropolitan areas.

Bob Dugan, CMHC¡¯s Chief Economist, emphasized the mixed nature of the January 2024 data, noting the decline in the SAAR of housing starts but also acknowledging the robust growth in actual starts on a year-over-year basis, driven mainly by multi-unit projects in Toronto. According to Dugan, the number of housing starts in January 2024 was the second highest for the month since 1990, underscoring the dynamic nature of Canada¡¯s housing market.

Key data from the report includes an 11% decrease in the monthly SAAR of total urban housing starts, with a significant 14% reduction in multi-unit urban starts, whereas single-detached urban starts saw a marginal increase of 0.08%. Rural starts were estimated at 15,470 units for the month. Toronto¡¯s housing market stood out with a staggering 179% increase in SAAR housing starts, fueled by a substantial rise in multi-unit projects. In contrast, Montreal and Vancouver faced declines in their housing starts, attributed mainly to decreases in multi-unit starts.

: woodindustry.ca