Charles Rochfort, left, and Jonathan Grenier work on a home as Quebec lifts the ban on residential construction due to the COVID-19 pandemic Monday April 20, 2020 in Deux-Montagnes, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Annual pace of housing starts down in December: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 22,373 units

The annual pace of housing starts in December fell compared with November, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts for all areas in Canada, excluding Kelowna, B.C., fell 12.2 per cent in December from November, CMHC said on Monday.

The December survey was not conducted in Kelowna due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but CMHC said Kelowna’s exclusion didn’t impact the overall trends for the month.

The annual pace of urban starts fell 12.8 per cent in December as urban starts of apartments, condos and other types of multiple-unit housing projects dropped 15.1 per cent. Single-detached urban starts fell 5.5 per cent.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 22,373 units.

“December’s decline is unsurprising as some pullback from November’s massive level was to be expected,” wrote Rishi Sondhi, economist at TD Economics, in a note to clients on Monday.

“Still, homebuilding ended last year on solid footing, buoyed by gains in past home sales and population growth, a declining inventory of unsold new homes, as well as low interest rates.”

Despite the drop in December, CMHC says the six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts climbed to 239,052 units for the final month of 2020, up from 236,334 in November.

Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, said that the pace of housing starts in 2020 surpassed 2019 in total, despite “pandemic-induced” declines early last year.

“Regionally, the December drop was concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, though both provinces saw the best year since 2004,” wrote Priscilla Thiagamoorthy, economist at BMO Capital Markets Economic Research, in a note to clients.

“That’s quite remarkable, especially for Quebec, given the fact that restrictions in the province forced the sector to grind to a halt in April.”

Sondhi of TD Economics wrote that despite a new wave of COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario and Quebec, homebuilders should be “relatively unscathed.”

“Focus now shifts to January, where, in the battle against the pandemic, Ontario’s government recently shuttered ‘non-essential’ construction activities,” Sondhi’s note to clients said.

“Notably, condo projects are allowed to continue, as can other residential projects for which a permit has been granted.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Real estate

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

Just Posted

RCMP were on scene under the Menzies Street bridge in Chilliwack on Thursday, March 4, 2021 where a body was found. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
BREAKING: Body recovery underway at Menzies bridge in Chilliwack

No details on age or gender as RCMP officers were on scene Thursday morning

A black sedan, white SUV, red pickup truck and black hatchback were all involved in a four-vehicle collision at Hodgins Avenue and Yale Road on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Driver responsible for four-vehicle crash in Chilliwack last week was in stolen truck

‘Do not leave your vehicle unattended and running with the keys in the ignition,’ says RCMP

Annette Williams with Chilliwack Learning Society holds up one of the pages of ‘Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!’ by Candace Fleming, the story chosen for the downtown StoryWalk event. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
StoryWalk transforms Chilliwack trails, sidewalks into outdoor literacy adventures

Families can read children’s stories together, page by page, as they walk story routes

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Items seized by Chilliwack RCMP and Abbotsford Police during a Feb. 23 traffic stop. (RCMP photo)
Police from Chilliwack and Abbotsford seize drugs in traffic stop

Chilliwack RCMP worked with the Abbotsford PD to seize four kilograms of suspected fentanyl

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Anti-pipeline protests continue in Greater Vancouver, with the latest happening Thursday, March 4 at a Trans Mountain construction site in Burnaby. (Facebook/Laurel Dykstra)
A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer

The group arrived early Thursday, planning to ‘block any further work’

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Government of B.C.)
Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Most Read