Housing starts tumble and Ottawa leads the slide
February 27, 2023
Canadian housing starts fell 13 per cent in January 2023 from a year earlier, but they plunged dramatically in some parts of the country—including Ottawa.
Housing starts in Ottawa-Gatineau plummeted 84 per cent in January compared with the previous year, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported.
CMHC said the national seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of housing starts for January 2023 were 215,365 units compared with 248,296 in December 2022.
The annual rate of urban starts fell 16 per cent to 191,491 in January. And the annual rate of multi-unit urban starts dropped 20 per cent to 146,267 for the month, while the pace of starts for single-detached urban homes rose three per cent to 45,224 units.
Housing starts declined sharply on both sides of the Ottawa River in the first month of 2023. Starts in Ottawa fell 80 per cent from a year earlier to a total of 71, while starts in Gatineau dipped 89 per cent to a total of 30.
In total, then, across Ottawa-Gatineau, builders started work on just 101 new units in January, down from 640 in January 2022, according to CMHC.
Meanwhile, SAAR housing starts in the National Capital Region fell 58 per cent in January 2023. The six-month rolling average—designed to smooth out monthly fluctuations—was 1,735 units in January 2023 compared with 4,095 units in December 2022.
Among Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, Montreal was the only major market with increases in total SAAR housing starts in January 2023—up 36 per cent from a month earlier.
Toronto starts decreased by 52 per cent, while Vancouver declined by 14 per cent, which contributed to the overall monthly decline in SAAR housing starts for Canada, CMHC reported.