March 2015 Housing Starts in Canada
OTTAWA, April 10, 2015 — The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 179,016 units in March compared to 180,236 in February, 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.
“Despite recent month-to-month changes in the SAAR, the trend in housing starts essentially held steady in March compared to February,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “However, the trend in housing construction has moved lower since September 2014, partly reflecting efforts to manage the level of completed but unsold units.”
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 189,708 units in March, up from 151,238 units in February. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 28.1 per cent in March to 177,459 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 48.2 per cent to 125,263 units in March while the single-detached urban starts segment decreased by 3.4 per cent to 52,196 units.
In March, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Ontario, British Columbia, Québec and the Prairies, while it decreased in Atlantic.
Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12,249 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.