The national trend in housing starts decreased in December, as unabsorbed inventory remained higher compared to mid-year 2019. The declines are primarily led by lower-trending multi-family starts in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. However, the year-end stable starts level in Vancouver and a significant growth in Calgary helped offset the declines in other major centres, ending 2019 with a slightly slower pace of construction of new homes compared to the same month last year.
The trend in housing starts was 212,160 units in December 2019, compared to 219,921 units in November 2019, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.
The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 197,329 units in December, a decrease of 3% from 204,320 units in November. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 4% in December to 185,934 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 5% to 138,049 units in December while single-detached urban starts increased by 1% to 47,885 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11,395 units.