CMHC: Pace of housing construction at its strongest in nearly a year

Housing starts are being impelled by sustained market strength in several key regions

CMHC: Pace of housing construction at its strongest in nearly a year

The annual pace of housing starts in September rose to its highest level (299,589 units) since the rate seen in November 2021 (305,889 units), according to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The September annualized rate represented an increase of 11% from August, impelled by sustained market strength in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

“September’s increase in the monthly [seasonally adjusted annual rate] of housing starts in Canada’s urban areas was driven by higher multi-unit starts,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC.

Read more: StatCan: Construction investment levels held steady in August

“While single-detached units were up 85% in Vancouver, single-detached starts were flat in Toronto and Montreal. Housing starts activity remains elevated in Canada in 2022,” Dugan added.

The six-month moving average of housing starts stood at 276,682 units in September, up by 3% from 267,813 units in August.

The resilience of rental housing construction, brought about by strong demand, also shored up September activity, “while developers took a more cautious approach to starting new condominium apartment projects, due to the higher interest-rate environment.”

“Increases in construction costs and materials shortages were also felt across markets, impacting construction times and the affordability of the housing delivered,” said Francis Cortellino and Eric Bond, senior specialists for housing market analysis at CMHC.