Housing starts in Canada dropped for the fifth consecutive month to 236,554 in October, down by 5.3% from September as builders grappled with shortages of materials and workers, according to data released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on Tuesday.
Although the figure still stands above previous years’ averages, the number of housing starts has slowed considerably from the historic highs earlier this year. The decline occurred across both urban and rural areas.
The decrease was a direct result of shortages in materials and workers that forced developers to delay projects. Nonetheless, demand for housing overall remains robust.
The trend was split between provinces. The Atlantic provinces reported increases, which correspond to a spike in demand as Canadians left the major cities for cheaper housing and more space during the pandemic.
Alberta also had a strong increase of 37% from September, a sign of a possible looming oil and gas boom because of strong global energy demand. In contrast, housing starts in Ontario and Manitoba decreased by 16.7% and 50.3%, respectively.
As soon as the supply chain bottlenecks in construction materials and the worker shortage ease, developers will be eager to jump back in and housing starts are projected to pick up again.