OTTAWA, January 9, 2015 —
The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 192,047 units in December compared to 194,807 in November, 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 modest decline in the trend in December reflected lower levels of both multiple and single-detached starts,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “Overall, activity in 2014 continued to be supported by employment growth and migration with starts remaining essentially unchanged at 189,4012 compared to 187,923 in 2013. These factors are expected to continue to promote stability in the pace of new home construction during 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 180,560 units in December, down from 193,199 in November. The SAAR of urban starts decreased to 162,915 in December, from 173,627 in November. The decrease was led by multiple urban starts, which decreased to 103,054 units in December from 110,766 in November, while single-detached urban starts decreased to 59,861 units from 62,861. Urban housing starts saw relatively large declines in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the Prairies, while urban housing starts registered modest gains in Ontario and British Columbia. Rural starts3 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,645 units. Preliminary Housing Starts data is also available in English and French at the following link: Preliminary Housing Starts Tables 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 advice 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 The annual estimate of housing starts in 2014 is a preliminary estimate. Revised data will be available on January 15, 2015. 3 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.