223,513 homes started in 2023, down 7% from 2022 in Canada

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Published January 17, 2024 at 9:51 am

Fewer homes were started in 2023 compared to the previous year in Canada.

Across Canada, 2023 housing starts were down seven per cent in centres of 10,000 population and over, with 223,513 units recorded, compared to 240,590 in 2022, according to a new report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

CMHC attributes this decline to a 25 per cent decline in single-detached home starts in 2023.

“Following record and near-record highs in 2021 and 2022, housing starts dipped in 2023, but still significantly outperformed expectations for the year,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist.

“The decline was driven mainly by a sharp drop-off in single-detached starts and tighter economic conditions affecting multi-unit starts in the year’s final quarter.”

While housing starts were down nationally, the Toronto and Vancouver areas saw increases. Toronto area housing starts were up five per cent compared to 2022, and Vancouver was up a whopping 28 per cent.

These increases were mainly due to a higher number of multi-unit builds started, according to CMHC.

Montreal starts were 37 per cent lower due to large declines in both single-detached and multi-unit starts in 2023.

The six-month trend in housing starts was also lower in December at 249,898 units, down 2.1 per cent from 255,198 units in November. The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.

The monthly seasonally adjusted rate of total housing starts for all areas in Canada increased 18 per cent in December (249,255 units) compared to November (210,918 units).

housing starts canada

Dugan said the recent monthly multi-unit volatility is not surprising.

“…we’re now starting to see 2023’s challenging borrowing conditions and labour shortages in the housing starts numbers and we expect to see continued downward pressure in the coming months,” he added.

Key facts:

  • The monthly SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate) of total urban (centres 10,000 population and over) housing starts increased 20 per cent, with 234,705 units recorded.
  • Multi-unit urban starts increased 26 per cent to 191,463 units, while single-detached urban starts decreased two per cent to 43,242 units.
  • The rural starts monthly SAAR estimate was 14,550 units.
  • Total SAAR housing starts were down 35 per cent in Toronto, driven by a significant decline in multi-unit starts.
  • Montreal and Vancouver both posted gains of 66 per cent and 92 per cent, respectively, due to sizeable increases in multi-unit starts.

See the full report here.

Photo: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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