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May 16, 2023

April housing starts strong

The standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts for all areas in Canada increased 22% in April (261,559 units) compared to March (213,780 units) says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The monthly SAAR of total urban starts increased 26%, multi-unit urban starts increased 33%, and single-detached urban starts decreased 2% to 39,964 units. The Vancouver, BC, Toronto, ON, and Montreal, QC, census metropolitan areas (CMAs) all recorded an increase in total SAAR housing starts in April, with Vancouver up 36%, Toronto up 54%, and Montreal up 43%. Both Toronto and Montreal recorded declines in single-detached starts that were offset by large increases in multi-unit starts, while Vancouver posted increases in both segments. The trend in housing starts was 240,403 units in April, down 0.2% from 240,876 units in March. The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada. “While both the SAAR of housing starts and the trend have returned to levels observed before the pandemic, housing starts are expected to drop significantly in 2023, before seeing some recovery in 2024 and 2025,” says Aled ab Iorwerth, CMHC's deputy chief economist. “The expected decline is due to constraints in new construction, including labour shortages, as well as higher construction and borrowing costs for housing developers.” 

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