Decreased pace of housing starts in Canada

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said Monday that the annual pace of housing starts in December is down from November.

CMHC said the seasonally adjusted annual housing starts rate for all regions of Canada except Kelowna, British Columbia, fell 12.2% in December from November. A December investigation was not conducted in Kelowna due to the pandemic.

Annual start-up pace in urban centers decreased by 12.8% in December, as starts for rental housing, condominiums and other types of multi-unit projects decreased by 15.1%. The beginnings of single-family homes in urban centers decreased by 5.5%.

Buildings constructed in rural areas were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 22,373 units.

Despite December’s decline, the center said the six-month moving average of seasonally adjusted annual monthly home starts rates rose to 239,052 in the last month of 2020, from 236334 in November.

In Quebec, CMHC recorded 4,535 housing units in December, a sharp increase of 43% compared to December 2019. This is the seventh increase in eight months since construction reopened in May.

Housing starts of 2020 ended on the rise, showing exceptional strength over the past two months, rising by 36% in November and 43% in December. Despite all expectations, said Paul Cardinal, Director of Economic Service for the Association of Professionals, 2020 has proven to be the best year in more than 30 years for residential construction in urban centers of 10,000 and more in Quebec. Construction and Housing Quebec (APCHQ).

In December, the construction of multi-family homes (apartments, semi-detached houses and townhouses) set the tone, with 3,952 construction operations, 48% more than in December of last year. The construction of single-family homes has also been a great success, increasing by 16%. In all, 583 new foundations have been laid for this housing type.

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Geographically, the CMAs in Montreal and Quebec City experienced an unusual month in December, with housing increases of 80% and 79%. The Montreal area alone recorded 2,795 new homes under construction, accounting for 62% of all activity in the county. Saguenay CMA also saw a massive December month, as the number of homes started there more than tripled compared to the same month last year (86 versus 25). The Gatineau CMA also followed the upward trend (+ 8%), while the Trois-Rivières (-9%) and Sherbrooke (-24%) saw a decline, APCHQ continues.

For the year 2020 as a whole, CMHC counted 47,232 residential buildings in the county, which is an 8% increase over 2019. “This is the best building result in terms of construction. Residential in urban centers with a population of 10,000 and more in Quebec since at least 1990, ”APCHQ maintains.

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