March 2015 Housing Starts in Canada

The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 179,016 units in March compared to 180,236 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)1 of housing starts.

“Despite recent month-to-month changes in the SAAR, the trend in housing starts essentially held steady in March compared to February,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “However, the trend in housing construction has moved lower since September 2014, partly reflecting efforts to manage the level of completed but unsold units.”

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 189,708 units in March, up from 151,238 units in February. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 28.1 per cent in March to 177,459 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 48.2 per cent to 125,263 units in March while the single-detached urban starts segment decreased by 3.4 per cent to 52,196 units.

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

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