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

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
COVID-19 exposure notice shuts down Hazelton school

Closure to last for one week and school is to be sanitized

Dave Livesey, right, has been elected as Telkwa councillor defeating Klaus Kraft (middle) and Erik Jacobsen. (Interior News composite photo)
Dave Livesey elected to Telkwa council

Livesey received 60 votes to Klaus Kraft’s 51 and Erik Jacobsen’s 34 in preliminary results

Smithers Local Health Area reported just one new case of COVID-19 from Feb. 14-20. (BC CDC graphic)
Local weekly COVID infections drop to one

The Smithers Local Health Area (Houston to Witset) reported a single case between Feb. 14 and20

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

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

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Most Read