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Canadian housing starts trend higher in July

By Adam Freill   

Construction Residential

Urban starts take a hit but overall trend lines rise as starts remain well above 200,000 unit threshold.

July 2022 SAAR starts trend (Source: CMHC)

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reports that the six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of housing starts, or the trend, came in at 264,426 units in July, up from 257,862 units in June.

Also rising was the standalone monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada. In July, that figure hit 275,329 units, an increase of 1.1 per cent over June. Urban starts took a hit, however, with the SAAR of total urban starts decreasing by 0.8 per cent to 254,371 units in July. Multi-unit urban starts were down as well, falling 0.3 per cent to 195,987 units. And single-detached urban starts decreased by 2.3 per cent to 58,384 units.

“The monthly SAAR and trend were higher in July compared to June nationally, as historically elevated levels of housing starts activity continue in Canada, which have been well above 200,000 units since 2020,” said Aled Ab Iorwerth, CMHC’s deputy chief economist. “Monthly SAAR housing starts in Canada’s urban areas declined in July, driven by lower single-detached starts. However, Vancouver and Toronto both registered much stronger declines in multi-unit starts than in single-detached starts, while Montreal saw similarly large declines in both unit types.”

CMHC uses the six-month trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a clearer picture of upcoming new housing supply. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.





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