Canadian housing starts trend down in January

OTTAWA, ON, Feb. 15, 2024 /CNW/ - Total SAAR housing starts for all areas in Canada decreased 10% in January 2024 (223,589 units) compared to December 2023 (248,968), according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The six-month trend in housing starts decreased from 249,757 units in December 2023 to 244,827 units in January 2024, a 2% drop. The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.

Housing Starts in Canada - All Areas (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC))

Housing Starts in Canada - All Areas (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC))

Despite these declines, the actual number of housing starts across Canada in centres of 10,000 population and over was up 13% to 14,878 units in January 2024 compared to 13,220 units in January 2023. The year-over-year increase was driven by high multi-unit starts.

Actual housing starts were 49% higher year-over-year in Toronto but were 44% and 6% lower in Vancouver and Montreal, respectively. This suggests many other metropolitan areas made significant contributions to total housing starts in January 2024.


“The SAAR of housing starts declined in January pushing the trend down for the second consecutive month. Despite the trend performance, actual starts saw strong year-over-year growth, driven by high multi-unit starts, particularly in Toronto. In fact, from a historical perspective, we observed the second highest number of housing starts for the month of January going back to 1990,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist*.*

Key Facts:

  • The monthly SAAR of total urban (centres 10,000 population and over) housing starts decreased 11%, with 208,119 units recorded. Multi-unit urban starts decreased 14% to 164,789 units, while single-detached urban starts increased 0.08% to 43,330 units.
  • The rural starts monthly SAAR estimate was 15,470 units.
  • Total SAAR housing starts were up 179% in Toronto, driven by a significant increase in multi-unit starts. Montreal and Vancouver both posted declines of 28% and 55%, respectively, due to sizeable decreases in multi-unit starts.
  • Monthly Housing Starts and Other Construction Data are accessible in English and French on our website and the CMHC Housing Market Information Portal.
  • Housing starts data is available on the eleventh business day each month. We will release the February housing starts data on March 15 at 8:15 AM ET.
  • CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and to obtain a clearer picture of upcoming new housing supply. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.
  • Definitions and methodology to better understand the foundations of the Starts and Completions and Market Absorption surveys.

As a trusted source of housing information, CMHC provides unbiased housing-related data, research, and market information to help close knowledge gaps, and deepen understanding of complex housing issues to inform future policy decisions. Housing starts facilitate the analysis of monthly, quarterly, and year-over-year activity in the new home market. The data we collect as part of our Starts and Completions and Market Absorption surveys helps us obtain a clearer picture of upcoming new housing supply and is used as part of our various housing reports.

CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to all levels of governments, consumers and the housing industry.