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Housing: Greater Montreal only at one-third of its target for a return to affordability

  • The Montreal Metropolitan Community gave itself a goal of 35,000 housing starts a year to restore housing affordability in the metropolitan region

Montreal, June 30, 2023 – Residential housing starts in Greater Montreal are not hitting the targets they would need to hit to restore housing affordability, says the Montreal Economic Institute.

“It took five months to start as many residential housing projects in the metropolitan region as should have been started in 52 days,” says Gabriel Giguère, public policy analyst at the MEI. “Essentially, the region is 100 days behind schedule compared to where it should be.”

In its metropolitan housing policy, adopted in November 2022, the Montreal Metropolitan Community raised the target for average annual housing starts to 35,000 units in the Greater Montreal region.

It would have had to reach 14,583 residential housing starts over the first five months of the year in order to reach this objective.

According to CMHC data published this week, 5,019 residential units were started in Greater Montreal in the first five months of 2023.

Last year, over the same period, there were 11,000 residential housing starts in Greater Montreal. This means there has been a reduction of 54.4 per cent.

In Toronto, on the other hand, there were 18,597 housing starts during the first five months of 2023, which is an increase of 21.8 per cent.

Similarly, in Vancouver, there were 13,553 housing starts over the same period, an increase of 51.1 per cent.

“Toronto and Vancouver have to deal with the same interest rates and the same labour shortage situation as we do, but they’ve still managed to increase their numbers of housing starts,” says Mr. Giguère. “This seems to indicate that the blockage here is the municipal administration.”

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship. 

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