April 2015 Housing Starts in Canada
OTTAWA, May 8, 2015 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 179,299 units in April compared to 179,114 in March, 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.
“Elevated levels of multi-unit starts during mid-2014 caused the trend to peak in September. Starts activity since then has trended down to current stable levels as builders have adjusted activity to manage inventories,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “This trend is in line with CMHC’s expectations for housing starts in 2015.”
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 Canada’s housing market. In some situations analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.
The standalone monthly SAAR was 181,814 units in April, down from 189,546 units in March. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 6.6 per cent in April to 165,445 units. Multi-unit urban starts decreased by 14.2 per cent to 107,216 units in April while the single-detached urban starts segment increased by 11.4 per cent to 58,229 units.
In April, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Atlantic and British Columbia, while it essentially held steady in Ontario and decreased in the Prairies and Québec.
Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,369 units.
As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.
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.