August 2015 Housing Starts in Canada

The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 196,565 units in August compared to 185,642 in July, 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.

“Housing starts have been trending up, supported by strong condominium activity in Toronto. This is in line with CMHC’s most recent forecasts that would see demand shift from new higher-priced single-detached homes towards lower-priced alternatives,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “While national starts have increased, housing construction has started to slow in Alberta and Saskatchewan as a result of weakening economic conditions related to the decline of oil prices.”

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 216,924 units in August, up from 193,253 units in July. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 13.6 per cent in August to 201,312 units. Multi-unit urban starts increased by 19.5 per cent to 142,927 units in August and the single-detached urban starts segment increased by 1.4 per cent to 58,385 units.

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

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15,612 units.

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