Canada’s housing market is on a slight slowdown. According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) September’s housing starts, which indicates the number of new single or multi-family housing units beginning construction, slowed compared to August. The trend, determined by the number of permits issued for construction, measures a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts that dipped 2.5 per cent to 221,202 units in September compared to 226,871 this August.
Economists had expected an annual pace of 214,500 for September, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. So while September out-performed its predicted drop, analysts noticed that a particular segment of the market – urban starts – fell by 2.4 per cent to 208,503 units. This presents a dramatic shift from July when housing starts increased in the Toronto area.
In terms of multiple-unit urban starts, the dip was a mild one – just 0.2 per cent to 159,742. However, this past summer, multiple-unit starts were on the rise. Most of these multi-unit construction starts were located in Vancouver, Richmond (British Columbia), Edmonton and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo.
Meanwhile the starts of single-detached urban homes fell 9.2 per cent to 48,761 units. This meant a decrease in starts compared to August of this year where construction on all types of units within the GTA was trending high.
Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted rate of 12,699 units.
On the plus side, the six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts was 223,507 in September, up from 218,782 in August.
New builds still persist in growth despite the alarming number of homes currently sitting empty.
According to TradingEconomics.com, “Housing starts in Canada averaged 186,120 units from 1977 to 2019, reaching an all-time high of 291,600 units in March of 1978.”
If federal party leaders make good on their housing platforms, Canadians can expect higher housing starts in the post-election future.