Highlights from the October 2023 Housing Supply Report:
- In the first half of 2023, total housing starts increased slightly across Canada's 6 largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs). Notable changes were observed in individual dwelling types and CMAs.
- Apartment starts showed significant strength, offsetting declines in other dwelling types like single-detached, semi-detached and row homes. This growth was concentrated in Toronto and Vancouver, resulting in substantial overall starts increases in these CMAs. Meanwhile, other CMAs, particularly Montréal, saw reduced starts.
- As a result, housing starts in Toronto and Vancouver during the first half of 2023 surpassed levels seen over the past 5 years. In most other major centres, however, they fell below these historical benchmarks.
- Montréal's construction approach favours smaller, low-rise apartment structures, allowing for a faster response to changing financial conditions compared to Toronto and Vancouver, which prioritize larger, longer-term projects.
- Nonetheless, sustaining the heightened pace of apartment construction will be difficult due to ongoing challenges confronting developers, such as increased construction costs and rising interest rates.
- To effectively address Canada's housing supply crisis and affordability issues in the long run, substantial improvements in construction productivity are imperative. This is crucial given the current level of new construction activity remains insufficient.
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