Montreal starts plunge 58 per cent in first half of 2023
October 10, 2023
Montreal housing starts plunged 58 per cent during the first six months of 2023, to 5,927, compared to the first half of 2022, the worst performance of six major cities in Canada, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data.
This is in despite of continued calls to address the housing shortage in Canada’s second-largest metro region.
Greater Montreal would need to add 23,100 dwellings per year until 2041 for the local housing market to return to balance—significantly more than the 13,900 that are expected to be built annually, according to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.
And, it is not just Montreal that is seeing lacklustre residential construction.
Housing supply across Canada’s largest cities saw a mere 1 per cent growth in the first six months of 2023, compared to the same period a year earlier, states the latest edition of CMHC’s Housing Supply Report (HSR), which examines new housing construction trends in Canada’s six largest census metropolitan areas.
Tighter borrowing conditions, elevated construction and labour costs, and high interest rates created challenging conditions for home builders across all six major markets. Additionally, construction timelines saw a slight increase from the first half of 2022—up 0.9 months.
Toronto and Vancouver accounted for nearly 66 per cent of these housing starts across six markets with apartment starts making up about 75 per cent of all housing construction. This strong apartment starts growth observed in Toronto and Vancouver was offset by declines in Canada’s other large centres.
Metro Vancouver was the leader in starts—up 49 per cent in the first half to 17,458 new homes. Greater Toronto Area was next—up 32 per cent, year-over-year, in the first half to 65,905 starts. Ottawa starts fell 32 per cent. Edmonton was down 29 per cent. Calgary saw no change from a year earlier with 8,106 starts through the first half of 2023.