Trend in Canadian Housing Starts Declined in December While Total Starts Increased in 2015

OTTAWA, January 11, 2016 —The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 203,502 units in December compared to 208,204 in November, 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.

“A decrease in both the multiple and single starts segments drove the December trend lower,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “Starts increased in 2015 compared to 2014, largely driven by the condominium market in Toronto. Had the Toronto condominium starts remained stable in 2015, national starts would have declined on a year-over-year basis.”

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 172,965 units in December, down from 212,028 units in November. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 19.1 per cent in December to 159,007 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 27.0 per cent to 101,264 units in December and the single-detached urban starts held steady at 57,743 units.

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

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13,958 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:

Market Analysis Contact
Karine LeBlanc
CMHC Media Relations
(613) 740-5413

Additional data is available upon request.

Preliminary Housing Start Data
December 2015
  November 2015 December 2015
Trend1, all areas 208,204 203,502
SAAR, all areas 212,028 172,965
SAAR, rural areas2 15,583 13,958
SAAR, urban centres3    
Single-detached 57,780 57,743
Multiples 138,665 101,264
Total 196,445 159,007
Atlantic, urban centres 6,005 3,894
Quebec, urban centres 28,385 37,432
Ontario, urban centres 85,748 52,285
Prairies, urban centres 49,890 32,050
British Columbia, urban  centres 26,417 33,346
CanadaDecember 2014December 2015
Actual, all areas 14,781 14,506
Actual, rural areas 1,517 1,226
Actual, urban centres    
Actual, urban centres 4,677 4,520
December - Multiples 8,587 8,760
December - Total 13,264 13,280
January to December -  Single-detached 62,384 57,741
January to December -  Multiples 109,459 123,857
January to December - Total 171,843 181,598
Actual, all  areas January to December - Total 189,329 195,536

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



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