April 25th, 2024

Housing starts stable in 2023, but demand still outpaces growing supply of apartments

By The Canadian Press on March 27, 2024.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says construction of new homes in Canada's six largest cities remained stable at near all-time high levels last year, driven by a surge of new apartment starts despite demand still outpacing supply for rental housing. New homes are built in Ottawa on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says construction of new homes in Canada’s six largest cities remained stable at near all-time high levels last year, driven by a surge of new apartments – despite demand still outpacing supply for rental housing.

The agency says combined housing starts in the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa regions dipped 0.5 per cent compared with 2022, totalling 137,915 units, as apartment starts grew seven per cent to reach a record 98,774 units.

But that was offset by declines in the number of new single-detached homes, which fell 20 per cent year-over-year, due to weaker demand for higher-priced homes in an elevated mortgage rate environment.

The CMHC says rising costs, larger project sizes and labour shortages have led to longer construction timelines, prompting various levels of government in Canada to announce new programs aimed at stimulating new rental housing supply.

Of the six cities examined, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto saw growth in their total starts numbers, driven by new apartment construction reaching record highs.

But Montreal, Ottawa and Edmonton recorded declines from the previous year, as the report noted Montreal was the only market with a significant decrease in new homes being built across all housing types.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2024.

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