March 2013 Housing Starts in Canada

OTTAWA, April 9, 2013 — Housing starts in Canada were trending at 189,742 units in March, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)1 of housing starts.

“As expected, the trend in total housing starts continued to moderate in March. Builders are adjusting to lower housing demand, and as a result, completed and unoccupied units per capita remain relatively close to their historical average,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC.

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of the state of the housing market. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading in some markets, as they are largely driven by the multiples segment of the markets, which can be quite variable from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR was 184,028 units in March, up slightly from 183,207 in February. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 2.7 per cent in March to 157,217 units, led by a 6.6-per-cent decline in single urban starts to 60,558 units. Multiple urban starts remained relatively unchanged at 96,659 units in March.

In March, the seasonally adjusted annual rates of urban starts decreased in Ontario (-15.7 per cent) and Quebec (-13.5 per cent). Urban starts increased in Atlantic Canada (27.1 per cent), the Prairies (13.8 per cent) and British Columbia (13.1 per cent).

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 26,811 units in March.

Preliminary housing starts data is also available in English and French at the following link: Preliminary Housing Starts Tables.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

Follow CMHC on Twitter @CMHC_ca.

1 All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts and the trend estimate, are seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) — that is, monthly figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels. By removing seasonal ups and downs, seasonal adjustment allows for a comparison from one season to the next and from one month to the next. Reporting monthly figures at annual rates indicates the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the monthly pace were maintained for 12 months. This facilitates comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historical annual levels.

2 CMHC estimates the level of starts in centres with a population of less than 10,000 for each of the three months of the quarter, at the beginning of each quarter. During the last month of the quarter, CMHC conducts the survey in these centres and revises the estimate.

Information on this release:

Charles Sauriol
Media Relations, CMHC

Additional data is available upon request.

Housing Starts in Canada — All Areas

Preliminary Housing Starts Data
March 2013
Canada   March 2012 March 2013
Actual, all areas 14,517 12,273
Actual, rural areas 756 774
Actual, urban centres1    
March — Single-detached 4,030 3,765
March — Multiples 9,731 7,734
March — Total 13,761 11,499
January to March — Single-detached 11,366 10,632
January to March — Multiples 26,314 20,633
January to March — Total 37,680 31,265
  February 2013 March 2013
SAAR2, all areas 183,207 184,028
SAAR, rural areas 21,626 26,811
SAAR, urban centres1  
Single-detached 64,811 60,558
Multiples 96,770 96,659
Total 161,581 157,217
Atlantic, urban centres1 6,057 7,698
Quebec, urban centres1 33,058 28,602
Ontario, urban centres1 62,119 52,390
Prairies, urban centres1 38,769 44,131
British Columbia, urban centres1 21,578 24,396

Source: CMHC
1 Urban centres with a population of 10,000 orand over.
2 Seasonally adjusted annual rates
Detailed data available upon request


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