Canadian Housing Starts Trend Held Steady in February

OTTAWA, March 8, 2016 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 198,880 units in February compared to 199,107 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) of housing starts.

“The national housing starts trend held steady in February, despite some important regional variances,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “Housing starts are trending at a 4-year low in the Prairies where low oil prices have weakened consumer confidence. At the same time, starts are trending at an 8-year high in British Columbia, as new and resale home inventories remain low”.

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 212,594 units in February, up from 165,071 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 30.9 per cent in February to 200,231 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 46.0 per cent to 138,774 units in February and the single-detached urban starts increased by 6.1 per cent to 61,457 units.

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

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12,363 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
February 2016
January 2016 February 2016
Trend1, all areas 199,107 198,880
SAAR, all areas 165,071 212,594
SAAR, rural areas2 12,100 12,363
SAAR, urban centres3
Single-detached 57,908 61,457
Multiples 95,063 138,774
Total 152,971 200,231
Atlantic, urban centres 4,665 5,889
Quebec, urban centres 30,027 38,310
Ontario, urban centres 57,370 76,600
Prairies, urban centres 29,276 28,652
British Columbia, urban centres 31,633 50,780
Canada February 2015 February 2016
Actual, all areas 9,643 13,458
Actual, rural areas 617 485
Actual, urban centres
February — Single-detached 2,990 3,240
February — Multiples 6,036 9,733
February — Total 9,026 12,973
January to February — Single-detached 6,072 6,321
January to February — Multiples 14,483 16,331
January to February — Total 20,555 22,652

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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