February 2014 Housing Starts in Canada

OTTAWA, March 10, 2014 — Housing starts in Canada were trending at 192,236 units in February compared to 191,513 in January, 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.

“The trend in housing starts remained stable in February for the seventh consecutive month. Since August 2013, the trend has essentially remained in the 185,000 to 195,000 range, with month-to-month variations generally of two per cent or less. This is in line with CMHC's outlook calling for a stable housing market in 2014,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC.

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 192,094 units in February, an increase from 180,481 in January. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 7.5 per cent in February to 175,584 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 13.3 per cent to 116,458 units in February while the single-detached urban starts segment decreased by 2.4 per cent to 59,126 units.

In February, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, they were stable in Ontario, and decreased in the Prairies and British Columbia.

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,510 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

Additional data is available upon request.

Housing Starts in Canada — All Areas

Preliminary Housing Start Data
February 2014
  January 2014 February 2014
Trend1, all areas 191,513 192,236
SAAR, all areas 180,481 192,094
SAAR, rural areas 17,122 16,510
SAAR, urban centres2
Single-detached 60,597 59,126
Multiples 102,762 116,458
Total 163,359 175,584
Atlantic, urban centres2 4,812 8,104
Quebec, urban centres2 27,419 46,330
Ontario, urban centres2 57,840 58,104
Prairies, urban centres2 47,510 40,316
British Columbia, urban centres2 25,778 22,730
Canada February 2013 February 2014
Actual, all areas 11,097 11,724
Actual, rural areas 663 618
Actual, urban centres2    
February — Single-detached 3,498 3,283
February — Multiples 6,936 7,823
February — Total 10,434 11,106
January to February — Single-detached 6,866 6,641
January to February — Multiples 12,896 15,514
January to February — Total 19,762 22,155

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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