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Housing Market Index

(includes single detached homes, semi-detached homes and row (townhouse) homes)

meter icon 24.6

(includes stacked townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, double duplexes and row duplexes, and low and high-rise apartment buildings)

meter icon 29.1

Properties of the HMI

(i.e. how to read the number)

  • The HMI is on a scale of 0 to 100
  • It's 0 only when everyone says conditions are "poor"
  • It's 100 only when everyone says conditions are "good"
  • It's 50 when the % saying "good" = the % saying "poor"

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2023 Q4 HMI

This page outlines the Q4 2023 results for the CHBA Housing Market Index (HMI). This informative research and economics product provides a much-needed leading indicator about the current and future health of the residential construction industry in Canada.

The data for the CHBA HMI comes from an exclusive panel of CHBA homebuilders from coast to coast. Every quarter, this panel – which is created in collaboration with our local and provincial home builders’ associations across Canada – responds to a series of questions about market conditions. CHBA then uses proprietary statistical analysis to prepare the quarterly HMI. In addition to the standard HMI questions, each quarter CHBA asks “special questions” that allow the Association to gather data and insights into current issues affecting the industry across the country.

CHBA’s HMI was modelled on the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) very successful and influential US version. It has been refined by CHBA and analyzed and assessed by the Bank of Canada. The NAHB version is used regularly by financial analysts, the Federal Reserve, policymakers, economic analysts, and the news media, given the importance of the health of the residential construction industry to the overall economy. Through the CHBA HMI, CHBA has done the same for Canada, where it is being used and followed by similar Canadian agencies (e.g. Bank of Canada, Statistics Canada), government policymakers, economists/analysts and media.

If you have any questions or feedback about the CHBA HMI, please contact

Q4 HMI Overall Summary

CHBA Housing Market Index for single-family homes reaches record low foreshadowing troubling year ahead for housing starts

Both CHBA Housing Market Indices (HMI) for single-family and multi-family developments experienced a substantial slide in Q4 2023 over the previous quarter, as the balance of builder sentiment deteriorated further into pessimism. This is the result of a continuation of affordability and mortgage-qualifying challenges for would-be home buyers. The Q4 CHBA single-family HMI registered a record low of 24.6, falling 9.3 points from 33.9 the previous quarter. The previous single-family HMI low of 26.2 was recorded in Q4 of 2022. The Q4 CHBA multi-family HMI is 29.1, declining 4.5 points from Q3 and held slightly above its Q4 2022 low of 26.0. As seen in previous quarters, pessimistic sentiment is broadest in Ontario for builders of single- and multi-family developments. Six consecutive quarters with HMI readings well below a neutral sentiment score of 50 maintains an expectation of a continued decline in housing starts in 2024.

Builder sentiment and the trailing result in housing starts tallies, unsurprisingly, will predominantly be determined by the path of interest rates and mortgage rules. Both single- and multi-family builders were less pessimistic about their expectations for future selling conditions over the next six months, with well over 40% of both type of builders giving a rating of Fair as they look to the spring selling season. Weakening economic data has increased confidence that interest rate increases have come to an end and raised expectations for reductions to mortgage rates sometime    in 2024.

This does not bode well for housing starts this year. With the urgent need to ramp up housing starts to make up for a long-standing housing shortfall, builders were asked directly about their housing starts in 2023 as well as the expectations for starts in 2024. In 2023, 64% of builders surveyed built fewer homes because of the high interest rate environment and 30% said they canceled projects. 61% of builders said they had fewer starts in 2023 than in 2022. Influenced by the sales made in the previous year, 41% of builders expect to have the same number of starts as 2023 and 36% of builders expect to have fewer starts. This illustrates how current affordability challenges are incompatible with closing Canada’s housing supply gap.

Meanwhile, builders and buyers are still contending with higher material costs. While data and builder comments find that lumber prices have stabilized, the survey still found that lumber costs for a 2,400 square foot home is still $23,400 more than it was just before the onset of the pandemic. The national average cost of all other building materials is up by $42,200. This puts the total cost of construction compared to prior to the pandemic up over $65,500 for a 2,400 square foot home. At the same time, builder responses indicated a low incidence of severe supply chain shortages; this indicates that these higher material costs, which are passed onto the buyer, are not driven by supply shortages and instead have settled into a new normal level.

The survey asked builders about factors other than interest rates and market conditions that are causing them to build fewer homes. The most common answer remains municipal processes at 47%, consistent with results from the previous quarter. About a third of respondents noted labour shortages remain an issue and 28% stated access to land is a major hinderance. Although these are more regional factors, they underscore the common headwinds builders across the country face and the need for coordinated housing policy changes from all levels of government.