Housing starts in Canada


February 2013 Housing Starts in Canada

OTTAWA, March 8, 2013 — Housing starts in Canada were trending at 195,087 units 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.

“The trend in total housing starts continued to moderate in February. Moderation in economic fundamentals in the second half of 2012 has led to more modest housing demand and builders are adjusting accordingly,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC. “Monthly SAAR housing starts moved closer to the six month trend in February, up from January levels, due to a rebound in Ontario and Quebec multi-family starts.”

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 volatile from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR was 180,719 units in February, up from 158,998 in January. The SAAR of urban starts rose by 18.4 per cent in February to 161,631 units, led by a 27.7 per cent increase in multiple urban starts to 99,022 units. Single urban starts rose by 6.1 per cent to 62,609 units in February.

February’s seasonally adjusted annual rates of urban starts increased in Ontario (46.8 per cent), Quebec (34.9 per cent), British Columbia (2.1 per cent) and in the Prairies (1.5 per cent). Urban starts declined in Atlantic Canada (-31.7 per cent).

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19,088 units in February.

Preliminary housing starts data is also available in English and French at the following link: Preliminary Housing Starts Tables.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

Follow CMHC on Twitter @CMHC_ca.

1 All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts and the trend estimate, are seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) — that is, monthly figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels. By removing seasonal ups and downs, seasonal adjustment allows for a comparison from one season to the next and from one month to the next. Reporting monthly figures at annual rates indicates the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the monthly pace were maintained for 12 months. This facilitates comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historical annual levels.

2 CMHC estimates the level of starts in centres with a population of less than 10,000 for each of the three months of the quarter, at the beginning of each quarter. During the last month of the quarter, CMHC conducts the survey in these centres and revises the estimate.

Information on this release:

Charles Sauriol
Media Relations, CMHC


Preliminary Housing Start Data
February 2013
Canada   February 2012February 2013
Actual, all areas 12,247 10,965
Actual, rural areas 638 663
Actual, urban centres1    
February — Single-Detached 3,628 3,352
February — Multiples 7,981 6,950
February — Total 11,609 10,302
January to February — Single-Detached 7,335 6,634
January to February — Multiples 16,582 12,824
January to February — Total 23,917 19,458
  January 2013February 2013
SAAR2, all areas 158,998 180,719
SAAR, rural areas 22,443 19,088
SAAR, urban centres1    
Single-detached 59,035 62,609
Multiples 77,520 99,022
Total 136,555 161,631
Atlantic, urban centres1 12,181 8,320
Quebec, urban centres1 24,442 32,980
Ontario, urban centres1 41,430 60,808
Prairies, urban centres1 36,891 37,462
British Columbia, urban centres1 21,611 22,061

Source: CMHC
1 Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.
2 Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rates
Detailed data available upon request.

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