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Canadian housing starts trend slightly lower in February

By Adam Freill   

Construction Residential

Nationally, starts remain at historic highs.

Housing Starts in Canada – All Areas. (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reports that the trend in housing starts hit 251,579 units in February, down from 253,864 in January.

“Among Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Toronto was the only market to post growth in total SAAR starts in February, due to higher single-detached and multi-unit starts,” says Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist.

Despite that, the trend measure, a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts, suggests that national housing starts activity remains historically high, he adds.

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 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.


The seasonally adjusted figures for both single-detached and multi-unit starts increased in urban areas in February, although actual starts in centres with populations over 10,000 were off by 14 per cent in the single-detached segment, and up two per cent in all other housing, including large multi-family units.

The standalone monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada in February was 247,256 units, an increase of eight per cent from 229,185 units in January. The SAAR of total urban starts increased by 10 per cent to 222,563 units in February. Multi-unit urban starts increased by 13 per cent to 161,912 units, while single-detached urban starts increased by two per cent to 60,651 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 24,693 units.




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