There’s some promising news for those who are looking for signs of renewed life in Canada’s real estate market. 

It turns out the country is making moves on the supply front

According to new figures released today from national housing agency Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the annual pace of housing starts climbed 13% in February. This is largely attributed to breaking ground on urban multi-unit and single-family detached homes.

A housing start is defined as the beginning of construction work on the building where the dwelling unit will be located, either at the stage when concrete has been poured for the whole of the footing of the structure or an equivalent stage where a basement will not be part of the structure. 

According to CMHC, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts for February was 243, 959 units, compared to 216, 514 in January. Meanwhile, the annual rate of urban starts bumped up 16% to 222,663 units in February. 

newly built homes

The annual rate of multi-unit urban starts increased 18% to 173,745 for the month, while the pace of starts for single-detached urban homes rose 8% to 48,918 units. The number of rural starts was estimated at 21,296 units. The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) was 255,735 in February, down 2% from 259,830 units in January.

According to CMHC, declines in Montreal and Vancouver were offset by Toronto, which recorded a 55% increase in total SAAR housing starts in February. 

The movement on housing starts comes at a time of continued cries from politicians and developers alike that the country is in the grips of a supply crisis -- something that will only be compounded by record-breaking immigration targets.

Meanwhile, new statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association reveal that national home sales were up 2.3% on a month-over-month basis in February 2023.

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