May 2014 Housing Starts in Canada

Housing starts in Canada were trending at 184,438 units in May compared to 183,872 in April, 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.

“In May, the trend in housing starts was virtually unchanged for the third consecutive month. This is in line with CMHC’s analysis indicating that the new home construction market in Canada is headed for a soft landing in 2014,” said Bruno Duhamel, Manager, Housing and Economic Analysis. “Builders are expected to continue to manage their starts activity in order to ensure that demand from buyers seeking new units is first channeled toward unsold completed units or unsold units that are currently under construction, including condominium 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 the housing market. In some situations analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading in some markets, as they are largely driven by the multiples segment of the markets which can be quite variable from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR was 198,324 units in May, a slight increase from 196,687 in April. The SAAR of urban starts increased to 180,813 units. Multiple urban starts decreased to 117,709 units while the single-detached urban starts segment increased to 63,104 units.

In May, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and British Columbia, held steady in Ontario, and decreased in the Prairies.

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,511 units.

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