CMHC – July 2012 Housing Starts

 In Real Estate Market News


Housing starts in Canada were trending at 219,600 units in July, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)1of housing starts. The standalone monthly SAAR was 208,500 units in July, down from 222,100 in June.


“For the first time in seven months, the July monthly SAAR estimate was below the trend estimate. The bulk of the July decrease was in the multiples segment in British Columbia,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre.


For some markets, 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 seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased by 6.4 per cent to 187,300 units in July. Urban single starts decreased by 4.0 per cent in July to 64,300 units, while multiple urban starts decreased by 7.6 per cent to 123,000 units.


July’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 2.0 per cent in Ontario and by 3.0 per cent in Québec. Urban starts decreased by 29.2 per cent in British Columbia, 18.4 per cent in Atlantic Canada and by 8.8 per cent in the Prairies.


Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 21,200 units in July.


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.


For more information, call 1-800-668-2642. CMHC Market Analysis standard reports are also available free for download at


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 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:

Charles Sauriol
CMHC Media Relations

Housing Starts in Canada — All Areas



Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*
Actual SAAR
July July June July
2011 2012 2012 2012
Revised Preliminary Revised Preliminary
Canada, all areas 19,423 19,252 222,100 208,500
Canada, rural areas 2,193 2,376 22,000 21,200
Canada, urban centres** 17,230 16,876 200,100 187,300
Canada, singles, urban centres 6,888 6,315 67,000 64,300
Canada, multiples, urban centres 10,342 10,561 133,100 123,000
Atlantic region, urban centres 1,409 890 9,800 8,000
Quebec, urban centres 3,667 3,983 43,000 44,300
Ontario, urban centres 6,615 6,324 71,000 72,400
Prairie region, urban centres 3,154 3,565 42,100 38,400
British Columbia, urban centres 2,385 2,114 34,200 24,200

Source: CMHC
*Seasonally adjusted annual rates
** Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.
Detailed data available upon request.

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