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The trend in Canadian housing starts totaled 254,006 units in September, up 3.9% from 244,511 units in August, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.

The monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada increased 8% in September (270,466 units) compared to August (250,383 units).

The monthly SAAR of total urban starts increased 9%, with 250,766 units recorded in September. Multi-unit urban starts increased 10% to 207,689 units, while single-detached urban starts increased 3% to 43,077 units in September.

Total SAAR housing starts were up 98% in Montreal and 20% in Toronto in September, while Vancouver recorded a decrease of 17%, driven by declines in both single-detached (-12%) and multi-unit (-18%). The rural starts monthly SAAR estimate was 19,700 units.

“Both the SAAR and trend in housing starts were higher in September,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Multi-unit starts activity has persisted and maintained similar levels to 2022 despite the higher interest rate environment. This has helped offset double-digit declines in single-detached starts in all provinces. In fact, September was the second highest month this year for multi-unit starts. It seems the current higher interest rate environment has not yet had the expected negative impact on multi-unit construction activity so far in 2023.”