OTTAWA, June 8, 2016 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 191,000 units in May compared to 194,950 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) of housing starts.

“Housing starts slowed in May, and are now on pace to reach 191,000 units in Canada — falling within the upper range of our housing market outlook forecast for the year,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “The decline we see in the trend is led by fewer multiple starts in urban areas, particularly in larger centres like Toronto.”

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 Canada’s housing market. In some situations analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR for all areas in Canada was 188,570 units in May, down from 191,388 units in April. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 2.5 per cent in May to 170,432 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 5.7 per cent to 110,834 units in May and the single-detached urban starts increased by 4.2 per cent to 59,598 units.

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

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,138 units.

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

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

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Information on This Release:

Karine LeBlanc
CMHC Media Relations

This release is also available at

Additional data is available upon request.

Housing Start Data
May 2016
  April 2016 May 2016
Trend1, all areas 194,950 191,000
SAAR, all areas 191,388 188,570
SAAR, rural areas2 16,675 18,138
SAAR, urban centres3    
Single-detached 57,170 59,598
Multiples 117,543 110,834
Total 174,713 170,432
Atlantic, urban centres 4,002 8,118
Quebec, urban centres 27,619 33,769
Ontario, urban centres 62,403 64,918
Prairies, urban centres 35,081 28,315
British Columbia, urban centres 45,608 35,312
Canada May 2015 May 2016
Actual, all areas 18,690 17,678
Actual, rural areas 1,561 1,702
Actual, urban centres    
May — Single-detached  5,611  5,859
May — Multiples 11,518 10,117
May — Total 17,129 15,976
January to May — Single-detached 19,693 20,316
January to May — Multiples 45,216 45,743
January to May — Total 64,909 66,059

Source: CMHC
1 The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR). By removing seasonal ups and downs, seasonal adjustment allows for comparison of adjacent months and quarters. The monthly and quarterly SAAR and trend figures indicate the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the same pace of monthly or quarterly construction activity 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.
3 Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.

Detailed data available upon request

Date Published: June 8, 2016