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Canada’s annual pace of housing starts fell in March, 11% down compared with February

Most construction was in low-amenity neighbourhoods — except for apartments

New research completed by the University of British Columbia using CMHC data shows that almost 80% of housing starts between 2016 and 2021 in the CMAs featured in the report were in low-amenity neighbourhoods. Fewer than 10% were in high-amenity neighbourhoods.

Toronto had the highest level of starts in high-amenity census tracts at 21%, while Calgary and Edmonton didn’t have any starts in high-amenity areas.

Apartment units tend to be more optimally located, with 36% built in medium- and high-amenity areas. New single-detached, semi-detached and row units were located almost exclusively in low-amenity areas (95% to 98%).

Both consumers and developers are feeling the impacts of increased interest rates

Low interest rates in the first quarter of 2022 contributed to home prices reaching record highs in many Canadian cities. As interest rates increased in 2022, homebuyer purchasing power dropped in the second half of the year.

This was followed by a slight decrease in home prices in most markets.

While this shift led some developers to take a more cautious approach to start new condominium projects , low vacancy rates and rising rents sparked interest in purpose-built rentals in all CMAs except Toronto.

More apartments in Canada’s urban housing stock

Canada’s 6 largest centres experienced a major surge in apartment construction.

In Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal, apartment construction made up over 70% of total starts. Apartments made up most of the new construction in Montréal at nearly 87% — even though the total number of starts, apartments included, dropped in the CMA.

Highlights for Canada’s largest centres:

Metro Vancouver


Calgary housing starts

Toronto housing starts

Ottawa housing starts

Montréal housing starts

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