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Canadian Housing Starts Trend Declined in March

OTTAWA, April 8, 2016 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 196,783 units in March compared to 201,618 in February, 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.

“Overall, starts were trending lower in March due to a slowdown in multi-unit construction,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “This was the case across the country, except in British Columbia where declining inventories of new and unsold units as well as low levels of new listings in the resale market spurred builders to start new projects.”

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 204,251 units in March, down from 219,077 units in February. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 7.0 per cent in March to 185,022 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 9.7 per cent to 123,207 units in March and the single-detached urban starts decreased by 1.1 per cent to 61,815 units.

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

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19,299 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
March 2016
February 2016 March 2016
Trend1, all areas 201,618 196,783
SAAR, all areas 219,077 204,251
SAAR, rural areas2 20,072 19,229
SAAR, urban centres3
Single-detached 62,491 61,815
Multiples 136,514 123,207
Total 199,005 185,022
Atlantic, urban centres 5,726 2,613
Quebec, urban centres 37,575 30,142
Ontario, urban centres 77,047 86,712
Prairies, urban centres 28,590 25,717
British Columbia, urban centres 50,067 39,838
Canada March 2015 March 2016
Actual, all areas 13,765 13,458
Actual, rural areas 722 571
Actual, urban centres
March — Single-detached 3,089 3,379
March — Multiples 9,954 9,508
March — Total 13,043 12,887
January to March — Single-detached 9,161 9,884
January to March — Multiples 24,438 25,718
January to March — Total 33,599 35,602

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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