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Housing Start: Slowing Down in Canada, But Not in Quebec

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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The Mortgage and Housing Corporation of Canada (CMHC) said Monday that the number of housing starts in Canada decreased in September compared to August.

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In Canada, 271,068 residential construction sites opened in September 2021, compared to 284,757 construction sites that opened in August.

This trend is the six-month moving average of the monthly and seasonally adjusted annual number of housing starts.

In Quebec, CMHC listed 5,360 housing units during September, which is largely attributable to mass housing.

This represents an 8% increase compared to September 2020, and the seventh monthly increase in nine months since the start of 2021.

So, in September 2021, 859 foundations for single-family homes were poured into Quebec, a decrease of 11% compared to September 2020.

However, 4,595 group dwellings are starting to reflect an 11% increase for this type of dwelling compared to September 2020.

“Even if the pandemic has revived interest in single-family homes, the fact remains that group housing construction (apartments, semi-detached homes, rows) is driving the pace,” said Paul Cardinal. , Director of the Economic Department at APCHQ.

“Not only has it accounted for 84% of housing started since the beginning of the year, it is almost certain that last year’s record in this area will be broken. Thus, there will be no more mass housing in Quebec’s history than were built in 2021.

Geographically, five of the six metropolitan areas showed an increase in activity compared to September 2020.

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The most pronounced increase was observed in Trois-Rivieres (150 starts), where it jumped by 219%. Gatineau (612 starts) and Sherbrooke (269 starts) also had a good September thanks to related increases of 44% and 31%.

Residential construction hasn’t changed much in Montreal (+3%) and Quebec (+2%), where there were 2,913 and 767 beginning last month, respectively.

Residential construction in the county’s smallest urban centers (between 10,000 and 100,000 residents) recorded a 9% drop in residential construction in September, the first in seven months.

Elsewhere in Canada, according to the trend and the adjusted monthly and yearly number of housing starts, the level of activity has remained high compared to historical levels.

From the Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal markets, only Vancouver saw an increase in housing starts in September, particularly due to the downturn in the multifamily housing sector, said Bob Duggan, chief economist at CMHC.

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