Briefing

New housing builds surge in Toronto and Montreal as Vancouver real estate market cools

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Toronto had the most housing starts overall with 3,131 in August, a 26 per cent increase, according to new data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Montreal took second place with 2,031, a 120 per cent increase. Vancouver, however, dropped 20 per cent. (The Logic)

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Talking point: A large portion of new housing builds in Toronto and Montreal are condos, and more than a third of condos in the Greater Toronto Area are owned by people who don’t live in them—in Vancouver, investors own about half the condos in the city. That’s driving up prices for Toronto and Vancouver, both of which already have some of the world’s most unaffordable real estate markets. Vancouver has tried to address the affordability crisis by instituting regulatory changes—like stricter mortgage requirements and a 20 per cent tax on foreign buyers—that have stymied buyer demand in the past two years. This downturn in the real estate sales market mirrors construction activity. Meanwhile, Ontario and Quebec’s markets, which have not faced significant regulatory changes, have seen climbing sales over the past two years and, likewise, a surge in construction.