Housing Starts Remained Below Their Recent Trend in Canada: CMHC

 In Real Estate Market News


Housing starts in Canada were trending at 212,282 units 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 standalone monthly SAAR was 197,976 units in December, down slightly from 201,376 in November. The actual housing starts for 2012 are being verified and will be reported in the January edition of Monthly Housing Statistics, which will be available before the end of the month.


“As expected, housing starts remained below their recent trend in Canada. The decrease recorded in December was due to a decline in rural starts, while urban starts remained stable. Housing starts were below their trends in all regions except Ontario,” 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 seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts remained relatively stable in December (-0.1 per cent), reaching 178,870 units. Single urban starts rose by 8.6 per cent to 67,419 units, while multiple urban starts fell by 4.7 per cent to 111,451 units.


December’s seasonally adjusted annual rates of urban starts decreased in the Prairies (-­23.9 per cent), Quebec (-11.8 per cent) and British Columbia (-8.2 per cent). Urban starts remained relatively unchanged in Atlantic Canada (-1.6 per cent) and increased in Ontario (+33.4 per cent).


Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19,106 units in December.


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 Start Data
December 2011 – 2012
Canada December 2011 December 2012
Actual, all areas 16,538 16,352
Actual, rural areas 1,596 1,667
Actual, urban centres1
December Single-Detached 5,506 5,280
December Multiples 9,436 9,405
December Total 14,942 14,685
January to December — Single-Detached 67,093 67,172
January to December — Multiples 107,258 126,395
January to December — Total 174,351 193,567
November 2012 December 2012
SAAR2, all areas 201,376 197,976
SAAR, rural areas 22,298 19,106
SAAR, urban centres1
Single-Detached 62,086 67,419
Multiples 116,992 111,451
Total 179,078 178,870
Atlantic region, urban centres 7,854 7,731
Quebec, urban centres 41,063 36,210
Ontario, urban centres 56,526 75,430
Prairie region, urban centres 51,592 39,272
British Columbia, urban centres 22,043 20,227

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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