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Apartment Projects Drive Canadian Housing Starts in First Half

Apartment projects accounted for the vast majority of new housing starts in Canada’s major cities in the first half of 2023, says a new CMHC report.

The report details housing starts in Canada’s six largest metropolitan areas. Overall housing starts were relatively flat, rising just 1% from the first half of 2022.

Vancouver and Toronto accounted for almost two-thirds of the housing starts as the two cities’ apartment projects jumped 68% and 58% year-over-year, respectively, CMHC said Thursday in a news release. Conversely, Montreal apartment projects sank 58%.

Given larger building sizes and longer preparation time, Toronto and Vancouver entered the development pipeline earlier, when financing and building conditions were “considerably more favourable,” said Kevin Hughes, CMHC’s deputy chief economist.

“This contrasts with Montreal, which is more reflective of the current, more challenging, context, such as higher financing and construction costs,” he added.

Vancouver apartment starts easily outpaced the region’s overall home construction, which rose 49% year-over-year. Toronto apartment projects bettered an overall 32% homebuilding increase in Canada’s largest market.

CMHC attributed the flat overall home-construction activity to tighter borrowing conditions, elevated construction and labour costs and high interest rates.


Inside The Story

CMHCKevin Hughes

About Monte Stewart

Monte Stewart serves as Content Director - Canada for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monte provides daily news coverage of major Canadian commercial real estate markets, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. He has written about the real estate sector for various media outlets and Avison Young since the early 2000s. In addition, he has covered sports, general news and business for several leading wire services and publications, including The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, The Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail, Research Money, The Daily Oil Bulletin, Natural Gas World and The Toronto Star. Monte is active in his community as a youth basketball coach and raises funds for such charitable causes as Movember.

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