January 2015 Housing Starts in Canada

The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 188,956 units in January compared to 191,627 in December, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)1 of housing starts.

"The trend in total housing starts has been moderating since September 2014, reflecting lower trends in both multiple and single-detached starts,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “Overall, economic and demographic factors remain supportive of housing demand. The moderation in new home construction reflects inventory management by builders and is in line with CMHC’s expectations.”

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 187,276 units in January, up from 179,637 units in December. The SAAR of urban starts increased to 172,322 in January, from 161,940 in December. The increase was led by multiple urban starts, which increased to 115,008 units in January from 102,384 in December, while single-detached urban starts decreased to 57,314 units from 59,556.

Urban housing starts saw relatively large gains in Atlantic Canada and the Prairies, while urban housing starts registered a modest gain in Ontario and declines in British Columbia and Québec.

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,954 units.

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