Decline in Housing Starts Spills Over into 2024

While the resale housing market picked up in January, new home construction fared the opposite.

Housing starts fell 10 per cent in the first month of 2024, from December 2023, as fewer multi-unit urban homes, such as townhouses, were built.

This is according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which reported housing starts came in at 223,589 units in January, down 25,379 units from December.

The six-month trend in housing starts decreased to 244,829 units in January, from 249,757 units in December, a two per cent drop. The trend measure is a moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.

“Despite the trend performance, actual starts saw strong year-over-year growth,” says Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “In fact, from a historical perspective, we observed the second highest number of housing starts for the month of January going back to 1990.”

The construction of urban homes was up 13 per cent year-over-year. This increase was driven by high multi-unit starts.

Toronto saw a big boost, with housing starts up 49 per cent year-over-year.

Conversely, Vancouver and Montreal experienced drops of 44 per cent and six per cent, respectively.

This suggests many other metropolitan areas made significant contributions to total housing starts in the first month of 2024.

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