Housing starts in Canada fell 4.42% to 251,151 in September, another sign of the continuing shortages of raw materials and labor that have gripped the economy.
The drop, the fourth monthly decline in a row, was led by dramatic decreases in Ontario (9,380 units), Alberta (4,730 units) and most notably British Columbia (11,164 units), according to data released by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on Monday. Housing starts in the remaining provinces reported increases.
The decline was broad-based, taking place across both urban and rural areas, and across single- and multiple-family housing within urban areas.
The decline is the direct result of the global supply shock that has continued to intensify. The shortage of construction materials pushed prices to levels that deterred developers from beginning their projects. The shortage of construction workers also contributed to the decline.
While September’s number is still higher than most months for the past 10 years, it has fallen below the summer 2020 level during the grip of the pandemic. Yet demand for housing in Canada, especially affordable housing, remains high, the result of a chronic undersupply of housing for a decade.
The falling number of housing starts following supply chain bottlenecks shows that building enough housing for Canadians remains a monumental challenge.