OTTAWA, September 8, 2016 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 195,640 units in August compared to 201,379 in July, 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 declined in August, as construction of multi-unit dwellings slowed in most regions, led by lower activity in Alberta and Manitoba” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. "However, housing market activity levels remain elevated and this decline in starts is the market's response to increasing levels of supply. Multi-unit inventories are above average in several major markets across the country."

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 182,703 units in August, down from 194,663 units in July. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 6.1 per cent in August to 167,879 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 7.3 per cent to 111,378 units in August and single-detached urban starts decreased by 3.7 per cent to 56,501 units.

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

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,824 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

Additional data is available upon request.

Preliminary Housing Start Data
August 2016
July 2016August 2016
Trend1, all areas201,379195,640
SAAR, all areas194,663182,703
SAAR, rural areas215,84014,824
SAAR, urban centres3
Atlantic, urban centres35,5535,366
Quebec, urban centres327,27331,566
Ontario, urban centres372,49369,328
Prairies, urban centres335,95028,136
British Columbia, urban centres337,55433,483
CanadaAugust 2015August 2016
Actual, all areas18,91916,122
Actual, rural areas21,6411,568
Actual, urban centres3
August — Single-detached5,5745,423
August — Multiples11,7049,131
August — Total17,27814,554
January to August — Single-detached36,99937,950
January to August — Multiples78,58477,923
January to August — Total115,583115,873

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: September 8, 2016