February 2015 Housing Starts in Canada
OTTAWA, March 9, 2015 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 182,137 units in February compared to 188,761 in January, 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 trend in housing starts decreased for a fifth consecutive month in February and reflects a decreasing trend in multiple starts,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “The declining trend in multiple starts is helping to gradually erode the inventory of completed and unsold units, which is high compared to historical levels.”
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 156,276 units in February, down from 187,025 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts decreased to 140,722 in February, from 171,950 in January. The decrease in February reflects broad based declines in eight of the ten provinces. The decrease was led by multiple urban starts, which reached 86,214 units in February down from 115,123 in January. Single-detached urban starts decreased to 54,508 units in February from 56,827 the previous month.
Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15,554 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.