December 2013 Housing Starts in Canada

 In Real Estate Market News


Housing starts in Canada were trending at 195,760 units in December compared to 196,430 in November, 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 has remained essentially stable since October 2013. Housing demand continues to be healthy in Canada. The trend in existing home sales has been increasing since April 2013, while the trend in inventories of newly completed and unabsorbed homes has been declining at a modest pace since September 2013,” said Bruno Duhamel, Manager of Economic and Housing Analysis 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 volatile from one month to the next.


The standalone monthly SAAR was 189,672 units in December, a decrease from 197,797 in November. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 5.1 per cent in December to 168,214 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 4.1 per cent to 108,910 units in December while the single-detached urban starts segment decreased by 6.7 per cent to 59,304 units.


In December, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in British Columbia and Quebec while decreasing in the Prairies, Atlantic Canada and Ontario.


Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 21,458 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.


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.



Additional data is available upon request.

Housing Starts in Canada — All Areas

  Preliminary Housing Start Data
December 2013
November 2013 December 2013
Trend1, all areas 196,430 195,760
SAAR, all areas 197,797 189,672
SAAR, rural areas 20,618 21,458
SAAR, urban centres2
Single-detached 63,595 59,304
Multiples 113,584 108,910
Total 177,179 168,214
Atlantic, urban centres2 7,024 6,388
Quebec, urban centres2 32,573 34,237
Ontario, urban centres2 57,670 53,690
Prairies, urban centres2 52,938 43,013
British Columbia, urban centres2 26,974 30,886
Canada December 2012 December 2013
Actual, all areas 16,348 15,450
Actual, rural areas  1,667 1,557
Actual, urban centres2
December — Single-detached 5,280 4,645
December — Multiples 9,401 9,248
December — Total 14,681 13,893
January to December — Single-detached 67,172 63,147
January to December — Multiples 126,391 106,987
January to December — Total 193,563 170,134


Source: CMHC
1 The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR).
2 Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.
Detailed data available upon request





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