OTTAWA, October 11, 2016 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 199,503 units in September compared to 196,465 in August, 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 were on an upward trend in September, as residential construction increased across the country with the exception of Ontario, where the multiples segment softened to levels that are more consistent with household formation," said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “Quebec saw the largest gain in housing starts due to the development of new rental apartments intended for seniors. That said, Quebec’s growing apartment stock emphasizes the importance of inventory management.”

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 220,617 units in September, up from 184,201 units in August. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 19.7 per cent in September to 201,848 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 22.3 per cent to 137,803 units in September and single-detached urban starts increased by 14.5 per cent to 64,045 units.

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

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,769 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.

Follow us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Information on This Release:

Karine LeBlanc
CMHC Media Relations

Additional data is available upon request.

  Preliminary Housing Start Data
  September 2016  
  August  2016 September  2016
Trend1, all areas 196,465 199,503
SAAR, all areas 184,201 220,617
SAAR, rural areas2 15,594 18,769
SAAR, urban centres3    
Single-detached 55,955 64,045
Multiples 112,652 137,803
Total 168,607 201,848
Atlantic, urban centres3  5,238  9,806
Quebec, urban centres3 30,917 41,198
Ontario, urban centres3 70,261 67,426
Prairies, urban centres3 27,980 35,858
British Columbia, urban centres3 34,211 47,560
Canada September  2015 September  2016
Actual, all areas 20,814 20,164
Actual, rural areas2 1,651 1,633
Actual, urban centres3    
September — Single-detached 5,353 5,971
September — Multiples 13,810 12,560
September — Total 19,163 18,531
January to September — Single-detached 42,355 43,793
January to September — Multiples 92,395 90,594
January to September — Total 134,750 134,387

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: October 11, 2016