The trend in housing starts was flat in August at 244,507 units, up 0.8% from 242,552 units in July, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.
The monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts for all areas in Canada decreased 1% in August (252,787 units) compared to July (255,232 units).
The monthly SAAR of total urban (centres 10,000 population and over) housing starts decreased 1%, with 233,075 units recorded in August. Multi-unit urban starts decreased 1% to 191,250 units, while single-detached urban starts increased 2% to 41,825 units in August.
Total SAAR housing starts were down 12% in Vancouver and 20% in Toronto in August, while Montreal recorded an increase of 41%, driven by a 48% increase in multi-units.
The rural starts monthly SAAR estimate was 19,712 units.
“While both the SAAR and trend in housing starts were flat relative to the previous month, total housing starts are under downward pressure in 2023, except in Ontario and British Columbia. The one bright spot in Canada has been multi-unit starts which have helped offset significant declines recorded in single-detached starts in all provinces this year. Market intelligence suggests multi-unit projects started during the busy summer months were likely financed a few months prior, so the full effect of higher interest rates on construction activity remains to be seen,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist.
- Toronto and Vancouver have been performing well this year compared to last. Actual 2023 year-to-date housing starts were 28% and 47% higher, respectively, than the same period in 2022. As a result, Ontario and British Columbia are the only provinces with positive year-to-date housing starts in Canada.
- Monthly Housing Starts and Other Construction Data are accessible in English and French on our website and the CMHC Housing Market Information Portal.
- Housing starts data is available on the eleventh business day each month. We will release the September housing starts data on October 17 at 8:15 AM ET.
- CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and to obtain a clearer picture of upcoming new housing supply. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.
- Definitions and methodology to better understand the foundations of the Starts and Completions and Market Absorption surveys.
As a trusted source of housing information, CMHC provides unbiased housing-related data, research, and market information to help close knowledge gaps, and deepen understanding of complex housing issues to inform future policy decisions. Housing starts facilitate the analysis of monthly, quarterly, and year-over-year activity in the new home market. The data we collect as part of our Starts and Completions and Market Absorption surveys helps us obtain a clearer picture of upcoming new housing supply and is used as part of our various housing reports.