Canada housing starts – CMHC reveals latest figures

Only one of Canada's hottest markets posted growth in total SAAR starts

Canada housing starts – CMHC reveals latest figures

Canadian housing starts were down in December, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), with a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) decline in single-detached and multi-family starts in urban areas driving the latest results.

The body revealed that the trend in housing starts was 260,567 units last month, a decline from 267,606 in November – although its chief economist Bob Dugan said that still represented a strong figure in historical terms.

“The six-month trend in housing starts was lower from November to December, but remains at very high levels,” he said in a Press release.

“For SAAR housing starts in Canada’s urban areas, both single-detached and multi-family starts decreased in December. On a positive note, actual urban housing starts were 21% higher in 2021, adding much needed supply.”

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Dugan said that increase in actual urban housing starts, which was propelled by recovery from COVID-19 lockdown measures in 2020, was also caused by higher single-detached and multi-family starts, which rose by 28% and 19% respectively.

CMHC also noted that among three of the country’s hottest markets – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – the latter was the only one to post growth in total SAAR starts in December, again caused by higher multi-family and single-detached starts.

The body’s trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR of housing starts, which it uses to account for variance in monthly estimates and gain a more rounded view of Canada’s housing market.

Overall, the standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts across the country was 236,106 units last month, down from 303,813 in November – a decrease of 22%.

The SAAR of urban starts witnessed a 24% decrease (to 212,918 units) while multiple urban starts decreased by 29% to 157,687 units and single-detached urban starts stood at 55,231 units, a 4% decline.