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Canada’s housing starts decline in March


April 15, 2020
By Ground Water Canada

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The trend in housing starts was 204,717 units in March 2020, compared to 209,109 units in February 2020, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12,621 units.

This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts, CMHC said in a news release.

“The national trend in housing starts declined in March, likely indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic has begun to impact residential construction activity,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Activity in Toronto and Montréal trended lower, reflecting broader declines in their respective provinces. While Vancouver registered an up-tick, it was not sufficient to offset an overall decline in British Columbia. Activity trended lower in the Atlantic region, but conditions were mixed in the Prairies, as lower activity in Saskatchewan was offset by higher activity in Alberta and Manitoba.”

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Trend from last year at this time

The trend in housing starts was 202,279 units in March 2019, compared to 202,039 units in February 2019. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,494 units.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 195,174 units in March, a decrease of 7.3 per cent from 210,574 units in February. The SAAR of urban starts also decreased by 7.3 per cent in March to 182,553 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 13.4 per cent to 124,073 units in March while single-detached urban starts increased by 8.8 per cent to 58,480 units.

Monthly reports may be found on the CMHC website.