May 2014 Housing Starts in Canada

OTTAWA, June 9, 2014 — Housing starts in Canada were trending at 184,438 units in May compared to 183,872 in April, 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.

“In May, the trend in housing starts was virtually unchanged for the third consecutive month. This is in line with CMHC’s analysis indicating that the new home construction market in Canada is headed for a soft landing in 2014,” said Bruno Duhamel, Manager, Housing and Economic Analysis. “Builders are expected to continue to manage their starts activity in order to ensure that demand from buyers seeking new units is first channeled toward unsold completed units or unsold units that are currently under construction, including condominium units.”

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 198,324 units in May, a slight increase from 196,687 in April. The SAAR of urban starts increased to 180,813 units. Multiple urban starts decreased to 117,709 units while the single-detached urban starts segment increased to 63,104 units.

In May, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and British Columbia, held steady in Ontario, and decreased in the Prairies.

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,511 units.

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.

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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 was 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
CMHC Media Relations
613-748-2799
csauriol@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Additional data is available upon request.


Preliminary Housing Start Data
May  2014
  April 2014 May 2014
Trend1, all areas 183,872 184,438
SAAR, all areas 196,687 198,324
SAAR, rural areas 18,202 17,511
SAAR, urban centres2
Single-detached 59,845 63,104
Multiples 118,640 117,709
Total 178,485 180,813
Atlantic, urban centres2 3,205 5,842
Quebec, urban centres2 33,573 38,599
Ontario, urban centres2 63,910 63,904
Prairies, urban centres2 52,822 44,518
British Columbia, urban centres2 24,975 27,950
Canada May 2013 May 2014
Actual, all areas 18,837 18,352
Actual, rural areas 2,319 1,739
Actual, urban centres2    
May - Single-detached 6,441 6,170
May - Multiples 10,077 10,443
May - Total 16,518 16,613
January to May - Single-detached 22,704 21,358
January to May - Multiples 38,837 42,838
January to May - Total 61,541 64,196

Source: CMHC
1 The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR).
2 Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.
Detailed data available upon request.

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