Residential housing starts continue to decline


The number of residential housing starts continued to decline in August across the country, indicated the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in its latest report.

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Thus, the seasonally adjusted annualized number of housing starts in urban centers went from 254,165 in July to 246,771 in August, a drop of 3%. In Quebec, this decline was more felt, with 50,210 housing starts in August compared to 52,672 in July (-5%).

This decline is attributable to the decline in multi-unit housing starts, mainly in Montreal, said Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC.

The declines observed in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Montréal (-36%) and Sherbrooke (-12%) were offset by an acceleration in the CMAs of Québec, Trois-Rivières, Gatineau and Saguenay, which recorded respective increases of 368%, 164%, 35% and 19%, indicated the Association of construction and housing professionals of Quebec (APCHQ).

Higher than last year

Despite this decline, the number of housing starts remains high compared to last year.

“The six-month trend in housing starts was higher in August than in July, despite a decline in [données désaisonnalisées annualisées] monthly. The level of housing starts in Canada remains historically high and well above 200,000 since 2020,” Dugan said.

In fact, we have seen a 6% increase in the number of residential housing starts in Canada. Thus, the number of housing starts in August rose from 19,536 in 2021 to 20,743 in 2022. The situation is similar in Quebec, with a 5% increase in August 2022 compared to the same month last year. past.

“This is only the second increase in nine months for residential construction in Quebec. In particular, housing starts for single-family homes have just increased for the first time in twelve months, an astonishing jump given the rapid rise in financing costs in recent months, » explained Paul Cardinal, director of the Economic department of the APCHQ.


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