CMHC reports annual pace of housing starts in Canada slowed in December

Analysts on average had expected an annual rate of 210,000 for December

Developers started building fewer homes than expected in December, mostly because of a decline in multi-unit projects, Canada’s housing agency said Thursday.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts came in at 197,329 in December, down from 204,320 in November.

Analysts on average had expected an annual rate of 210,000 for December, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, said multi-family starts in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa were the main drags on starts, but stable activity in Vancouver and significant growth in Calgary helped offset those declines.

Starts in multi-unit dwellings in urban areas fell five per cent from November, including a 17 per cent decline in Ontario, while urban starts of single-detached homes edged up one per cent.

The six-month moving average of the overall monthly seasonally adjusted rate was 212,160 units in December, down from 219,921 in November.

“Housing starts lost a bit of steam toward the end of last year,” said RBC senior economist Josh Nye in a note.

The annualized pace for the fourth quarter as a whole came in at 201,000, compared with 220,000 in the prior two quarters, he noted.

But Nye said starts should be in the middle of the range for the year ahead as the market rebounds, helped in part by Canada’s fastest population growth rate since the early 1990s.

“That would be consistent with a resurgent housing market — which we see extending into this year — and strong demographics.”

CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham said the slowing starts in the fourth quarter contributed to a deceleration in overall economic growth, but that starts should clock in slightly above the 200,000 mark this year.

“We expect that the combination of lower mortgage rates (compared to the start of last year) and solid population growth will support demand for housing in 2020,” he said in a note.

TD economist Rishi Sondhi said the drop in multi-unit starts was likely from past declines in pre-construction condo sales. Sondhi said the effects of past pre-construction sales declines would continue to restrain homebuilding in key markets this year.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Sculpture to offer point of beauty and unity at rivers’ junction in Grand Forks

Artist David Seven Deers spent 19 months sculpting Shining Raven Woman

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Greenwood Museum debuts new Chinese laundry exhibit

The new exhibit reflects a staple business of the city from more than 100 years ago

Spring flooding financial relief available for affected residents

The provincial funds are for those affected by flooding in May and early June

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Most Read