CMHC – Canada’s Housing Starts Show Upward Trend in October

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THUNDER BAY – NEWS – In the latest update from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Canada experienced a rise in housing starts this October. The trend, which represents a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts, climbed to 256,280 units, marking a 1% increase from September’s 253,957 units.

In Thunder Bay, however, there was a drop of 68% with 88 single dwelling starts in October 2023 compared to 172 single dwelling starts in September.

In Thunder Bay in September 2023 there were 532 total units, and that is a far cry from the 172 units in October 2023.

This upward movement nationally was also reflected in the monthly SAAR of total housing starts across Canada, which saw a 1% rise in October to 274,681 units, compared to 270,669 units in September.

Significantly, urban housing starts in areas with over 10,000 residents recorded a 2% increase, totalling 257,357 units. This growth was observed in both multi-unit urban starts, which went up by 1% to 209,887 units, and single-detached urban starts, which saw a substantial 9% increase to 47,470 units.

However, the landscape varied across major cities. Montreal and Toronto experienced declines in total SAAR housing starts by 43% and 24%, respectively. In contrast, Vancouver showed a robust increase of 35%, propelled by a 40% surge in multi-unit starts.

The rural starts monthly SAAR estimate stood at 17,324 units.

Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist, highlighted the challenges in the housing sector, stating, “Despite the upward trend in October, driven once again by persistent multi-unit starts activity offsetting declines in single detached starts, actual year-to-date starts are down. We will need to find innovative ways to deliver more housing and close the supply gap in this challenging economic environment.”

Key statistics revealed that actual 2023 year-to-date housing starts in Toronto and Vancouver were 22% and 37% higher, respectively, than the same period in 2022, driven predominantly by multi-unit starts. Nationally, however, there was a 7% decline in year-to-date starts in urban centres with populations over 10,000, primarily due to a decrease in single-detached starts.

CMHC uses the trend measure alongside the monthly SAAR of housing starts to offer a more comprehensive picture of the new housing supply, accounting for fluctuations in monthly estimates. This data, part of CMHC’s Starts and Completions and Market Absorption surveys, plays a crucial role in informing future housing policies.

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