OTTAWA, February 5, 2016 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 199,169 units in January compared to 203,304 in December, 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 trended down across the country with the exception of Ontario,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “The overall decline is mostly attributable to a slowdown in the Prairies where the housing starts trend was at a 4-year low in January. The slowdown in new housing activity coincides with an unemployment rate that is at a 5-year high in Alberta”.

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 was 165,861 units in January, down from 172,533 units in December. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 3.0 per cent in January to 153,701 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 5.3 per cent to 95,406 units in January and the single-detached urban starts increased by 1.0 per cent to 58,295 units.

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

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12,160 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
January 2016
  December 2015 January 2016
Trend1, all areas 203,304 199,169
SAAR, all areas 172,533 165,861
SAAR, rural areas2 14,012 12,160
SAAR, urban centres3    
Single-detached 57,741 58,295
Multiples 100,780 95,406
Total 158,521 153,701
Atlantic, urban centres 3,909 4,680
Quebec, urban centres 37,008 29,568
Ontario, urban centres 51,988 58,602
Prairies, urban centres 32,129 29,273
British Columbia, urban centres 33,487 31,578
Canada January 2015 January 2016
Actual, all areas 12,154 10,187
Actual, rural areas 625 508
Actual, urban centres    
January — Single-detached 3,082 3,081
January — Multiples 8,447 6,598
January — Total 11,529 9,679

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 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.
3 Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.

Detailed data available upon request

Date Published: February 5, 2016