Housing starts in Canada were trending at 191,456 units in January compared to 194,518 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 housing starts decreased slightly in January, while the inventory of newly completed and unabsorbed units saw a modest downward trend in the last half of 2013. This is consistent with our expectation that builders will continue to gradually adjust activity in order to manage their levels of inventory,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC.
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 180,248 units in January, a decrease from 187,144 in December. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 2.7 per cent in January to 163,158 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 6.0 per cent to 102,289 units in January while the single-detached urban starts segment increased by 3.4 per cent to 60,869 units.
In January, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in the Prairies and in Ontario while decreasing in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and British Columbia.
Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,090 units.
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.
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1All 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 was 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:
CMHC Media Relations
Additional data is available upon request.