Suburbs fuel rise in housing completions, construction: CMHC

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The COVID-19 is impacting the housing market with demand pushing home prices higher in Ontario and across the country.

In particular, suburbs around Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver’s are fueling an increase in housing construction starts, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Two CMHC reports released Monday show the number of homes in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver ready for owners increases farther from city centres.

The availability of lots and affordable prices are pushing housing completions up in a roughly 30-kilometre radius outside these city centres, according to CMHC and housing completions peaked in areas between 20 and 30 kilometres from Toronto.

The CMHC also says the annual pace of housing starts increased 23 per cent in January.

Urban starts were up 27.7 per cent to 266,877 units, as starts of multi-unit buildings in cities rose 24.1 per cent to 193,328 units and starts of single-family homes in cities rose 38.1 per cent to 73,549 units.

Highlights from the reports include:

  • Montréal has seen the strongest pattern of suburbanization. Housing supply increased with distance from the city centre and decreased with population density.
  • Toronto has experienced urban sprawl with a high level of housing development in remote suburbs. However, Toronto has also seen a boom in housing construction in its core.
  • Urban sprawl is more limited in Vancouver, as this CMA has a relatively stable level of construction in its urban areas.

“Toronto has experienced urban sprawl with a high level of housing development in remote suburbs. However, Toronto has also seen a boom in housing construction in its active core,” the report states.

According to the CMHC report, trends toward suburbanization may increase housing external costs and the low level of housing development in low-income areas in Montreal (and to a lesser degree in Toronto) may indicate affordability challenges in those neighbourhoods.”

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