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Canada  + Ontario + Pacific Canada + Quebec  + Apartments  | 
Canadian housing starts fell 9% in April, says a new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation report.

Multi-Res Construction Drop Reduces Total Housing Starts

A multi-residential construction decline drove down overall Canadian housing starts in April, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Multi-unit housing starts fell 11% nationally year-over-year in April as high 2023 borrowing costs took their toll on the market, said CMHC in its monthly housing report. By contrast single-family home starts rose 3%.

The high borrowing costs resulted from a series of Bank of Canada interest-rate increases implemented between 2022 and 2023.

CMHC measures housing starts two ways: Through a seasonally adjusted methodology and on an actual basis.

The actual number of overall starts sank 9% to 18,486 units in April 2024 from 20,231 a year earlier.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) declined a modest 1% to 240,229 units in April 2024 from 242,267 in March 2024.

The CMHC report covers urban centres with populations of 10,000 or more. April’s actual overall housing starts fell year-over-year in Canada’s three largest cities, dropping 38% in Toronto, 30% in Vancouver and just 3% in Montreal.

“The multi-unit volatility observed in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montréal in recent months is unsurprising as we continue to see last year’s challenging borrowing conditions reflected in multi-unit housing starts numbers,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, in a news release.

“We expect to see continued downward pressure in these large centres.”

The impact was less severe on a seasonally adjusted basis. While Vancouver and Toronto’s starts declined more modestly, Montreal’s total starts increased 41% due to a 50% gain in multi-unit starts.

CMHC forecasted earlier that Canadian housing starts would decline in 2024 due to a reduction in rental residential construction projects. The forecast was published in CMHC’s latest Housing Market Outlook (HMO).


Inside The Story

CMHCBob Dugan

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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