E Canadian Housing Starts Contracted In 2019, Though Construction In The Large Cities Is Booming

“(Canadian) housing starts posted a significant decline in Q4 after a marginal weakening in the third quarter of 2019. Looking at 2019, Canadian housing starts were down 2.3% from their level in 2018 with Ontario posting the largest (-10K) unit decline out of all the provinces.” (National Bank of Canada, Jan. 9, 2020)

Canadian housing starts surprised pundits by dropping below the 200,000 annual unit level in December.

Housing starts in Canada fell 3% from 204,300 units in November to 197,329 units in December 2019.

As the following charts illustrate, the December start levels were the lowest level since May.

Urban starts declined by 4% in December to 185,934 units, while multiple unit starts fell by 5% to 138,049 units.

The multi-segment of the industry was down sharply from its previous high level of 183.6 units reached in June of 2019. The weakness in multi starts was foreshadowed by building permits data reporting three consecutive monthly declines as of November.

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