Housing starts off for third straight month in November: CMHC

 In Real Estate Market News


Housing starts in Canada were trending at 214,680 units 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)1of housing starts. The standalone monthly SAAR was 196,125 units in November, down from 203,487 in October.


“As expected, housing starts remained below their recent trend and continued to fall for a third straight month. This decrease was mainly attributable to declines in single-detached and multi-unit housing construction in Ontario and British Columbia, resulting in part from a decline in the pace of pre-sales relative to that in late 2010 and early 2011,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC. “The drop in starts in Atlantic Canada was primarily due to a decrease in multi-unit housing construction in Halifax, following higher than normal activity in October,” added Laberge.


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 4.0 per cent to 174,323 units in November. Urban single starts declined by 5.4 per cent to 58,606 units, while urban multiple starts fell by 3.2 per cent to 115,717 units.


November’s seasonally adjusted annual rates of urban starts fell in Ontario (-14.3 per cent), British Columbia (-16.5 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (-45.6 per cent). Urban starts rose in Quebec (+15.4 per cent) and the Prairies (+16.1 per cent).


Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 21,802 units in November.


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 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.


Housing Starts in Canada — All Areas

Preliminary Housing Starts Data
November 2011 – 2012
Canada November 2011 November 2012
Actual, all areas 17,116 17,646
Actual, rural areas 1,914 1,888
Actual, urban centres1
November – Single-detached 6,293 5,330
November – Multiples 8,909 10,428
November – Total 15,202 15,758
January to November — Single-detached 61,588 61,192
January to November — Multiples 97,820 116,664
January to November — Total 159,408 177,856
 October 2012 November 2012
SAAR2, all areas 203,487 196,125
SAAR, rural areas 21,973 21,802
SAAR, urban centres1
Single-detached 61,943 58,606
Multiples 119,571 115,717
Total 181,514 174,323
Atlantic Canada, urban centres 12,379 6,732
Quebec, urban centres 34,782 40,134
Ontario, urban centres 65,098 55,778
Prairies, urban centres 42,549 49,379
British Columbia, urban centres 26,706 22,300

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

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