Canada: Housing starts ease in December
Housing starts fell to 228,279 units on a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) basis in December, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), down from November’s upbeat 261,152-unit reading. December’s improvement was driven by a sharp decrease in multiple-detached urban starts, while single-units also fell in the month.
Nevertheless, the six-month average of housing starts in urban areas increased from 236,334 units in November to 239,052 units in December.
Overall, housing starts remained healthy in the fourth quarter bringing 2020’s average pace to 218,948, which is up from 2019’s 208,286. Commenting on December’s reading, Rishi Sondhi an economist at TD Economics, noted:
“Focus now shifts to January, where, in the battle against the pandemic, Ontario’s government recently shuttered “non-essential” construction activities. Homebuilding should be relatively unscathed by these restrictions, just as in the first wave, when similar measures were implemented. Notably, condo projects are allowed to continue, as can other residential projects for which a permit has been granted.”