Effective January 1, 2023, CMHC’s Starts and Completions Survey and Market Absorption Survey methodology has changed. Completions and absorptions will only be collected in Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). This means the following series are discontinued for Census Agglomerations of 50,000 population or more: completions, under construction inventory, length of construction (in months), absorbed units, percentage of absorbed units at completion, inventory of completed and unabsorbed units, absorbed unit prices and unabsorbed unit prices. The following series are also discontinued for urban centres of 10,000 – 49,999 population as well as Canada and Provincial All Areas: completions and under construction inventory.
The Starts and Completions Survey is conducted through site visits. These visits are used to confirm that new residential units have reached set stages in the construction process. Since most municipalities issue building permits, they are used as an indication of where construction is likely to take place. In areas where there are no permits, reliance is placed either on local sources or other field enumeration procedures.
The Starts and Completions Survey is carried out monthly in Census Agglomerations (starts only) and Census Metropolitan Areas (starts and completions activity). These areas have populations of over 50,000 as defined by the latest Census.
In urban areas with populations of 10,000 to 49,999, all starts are enumerated in the last month of each quarter. That is, 4 times a year, in March, June, September and December.
Monthly starts activity in quarterly locations are statistically estimated at a provincial level for single- and multi-family categories. Centres with populations below 10,000 are enumerated on a sample basis, also in the last month of each quarter.
The Starts and Completions Survey enumerates dwelling units placed on new, permanent foundations only and designed for non-transient, year-round occupancy.
Market Absorption Survey methods
The Market Absorption Survey is carried out in conjunction with the Starts and Completions Survey. It is only conducted in Census Metropolitan Areas which have a population of 100,000 or more. This survey is only conducted for structures intended for the homeownership or condominium market.
When a structure is recorded as completed, an update is made as units are sold. The dwellings are then enumerated each month until such time that full absorption occurs. Full absorption is when all units within the structure have been sold.
Sales prices are collected whenever possible. Builder-occupied units are marked as sold at completion and no price is collected. Prices are only published when they would not result in the determination of individual responses provided.
Dwelling type definitions:
A “Single-Detached” dwelling (also referred to as “Single”) is a building containing 1 dwelling unit, which is completely separated on all sides from any other dwelling or structure. This includes link homes, where 2 units may share a common basement wall but are separated above grade. It also includes cluster-single developments.
A “Semi-Detached (Double)” dwelling (also referred to as “Semi”) is 1 of 2 dwellings located side-by-side in a building, adjoining no other structure and separated by a common or party wall extending from ground to roof.
A “Row (Townhouse)” dwelling is a 1-family dwelling unit in a row of 3 or more attached dwellings separated by a common or party wall extending from ground to roof.
The term “Apartment and other” includes all dwellings other than those described above, including structures commonly known as stacked townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, double duplexes and row duplexes.
A mobile home is typically defined as a type of manufactured house that is completely assembled in a factory and then moved to a foundation before it is occupied.
Dwellings excluded from the survey include:
- trailers or any other movable dwelling (the larger often referred to as a mobile home) with no permanent foundation
- renovations and/or alterations within an existing structure
- seasonal dwellings, such as: summer cottages, hunting and ski cabins, trailers and boat houses
- hostel accommodations, such as: hospitals, nursing homes, penal institutions, convents, monasteries, military and industrial camps
- collective types of accommodation such as: hotels, clubs, and lodging homes
Intended market definitions:
The “intended market” is the tenure (own or rent) in which the unit is being offered. This includes the following categories:
- A homeowner (or freehold) unit is a residence where the owner owns the dwelling and lot outright.
- A Condominium (including Strata-Titled) is an individual dwelling unit which is privately owned, but where the building and/or the land are collectively owned by all dwelling unit owners. A condominium is a form of ownership rather than a type of dwelling.
- A Rental unit is a dwelling constructed for rental purposes, regardless of who finances the structure.
- A Co-operative (Co-op) is a tenure type where occupants form an association or a corporation (typically non-profit). Co-op members own and operate a group of housing units, including common areas and other amenities. The members own a share in the co-operative, are entitled to occupy a unit and have access to common areas and amenities. Monthly housing charges are set by the members to cover the cost of running the co-op.
- Dwelling unit
- In the Starts and Completions Survey, a dwelling unit is defined as a structurally separate set of self-contained living premises. A dwelling unit has a private entrance from outside the building or from a common hall, lobby or stairway inside the building. The entrance must be one that can be used without passing through another separate dwelling unit.
- In the Starts and Completions Survey, a start is defined as the beginning of construction work on a building. This is usually when the concrete has been poured for the whole of the footing around the structure or an equivalent stage where a basement will not be part of the structure.
- Under construction
- Under construction refers to the number of units under construction at the end of the period shown and takes into account certain adjustments which are necessary for various reasons. For example, after a start on a dwelling has commenced construction may cease, or a structure, when completed, may contain more or fewer dwelling units than were reported at start.
- For purposes of the Starts and Completions Survey, a Completion is defined as the stage at which all the proposed construction work on a dwelling unit has been performed, although under some circumstances a dwelling may be counted as completed where up to 10% of the proposed work remains to be done.
- Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rate
- Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rate is the result of adjusting monthly or quarterly statistics. This provides an indication of the annual total which would be achieved if activity in all other months or quarters were at the same level of performance relative to past seasonal patterns.
- Market Absorption Survey
- The purpose of the Market Absorption Survey is to measure the rate at which units are sold after they are completed, as well as to collect prices.
- An absorbed unit is a housing unit that has been sold and completed. A unit is considered sold when a binding contract is secured by a non-refundable deposit and has been signed by a qualified purchaser.
- An unabsorbed unit is a housing unit that has been completed but not yet sold.
- Prices (absorbed or unabsorbed)
- Price information is collected from various sources, including builders and includes the unit, land and net HST/GST. Unabsorbed prices may be revised upon absorption.