Housing starts fall seven per cent in March

Housing Starts in Canada - All Areas (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC))

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Housing starts across Canada declined seven percent in March, reaching

a monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 242,195 units from February’s 260,047, according to data released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

This decrease contributed to a 1.6 percent slip in the six-month trend of housing starts, dropping from 247,971 units in February to 243,957 units in March. The trend measure reflects a six-month moving average of the SAAR of total housing starts across Canada.

Analyzing year-over-year figures, the actual number of housing starts in urban centers with populations of at least 10,000 surged by 16 percent in March, reaching 17,052 units compared to 14,756 units in March 2023. The growth was primarily driven by a 19 percent rise in multi-unit starts, coupled with a two percent increase in single-detached starts.

Toronto and Vancouver experienced notable year-over-year increases in housing starts in March, with respective rises of 10 percent and 15 percent, largely attributed to elevated multi-unit starts. However, both cities witnessed declines in single-detached starts during this period. Conversely, Montreal’s actual starts declined by one percent, primarily due to a downturn in multi-unit starts.

The standalone monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada in March 2024 was 242,195 units, marking a seven percent decrease from February. Total SAAR housing starts were up 27 percent in Vancouver, driven by an increase in multi-unit starts, while Toronto and Montreal witnessed declines of 26 percent and 5 percent, respectively, due to decreases in multi-unit starts.

In urban areas, the SAAR of total housing starts decreased by 7 percent in March to 220,743 units. Multi-unit urban starts declined by 8 percent to 180,229 units, while single-detached urban starts decreased by 4 percent to 40,514 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 21,452 units.


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