Ground Water Canada

Canadian housing starts trend decreases in August; starts up in Quebec

September 8, 2016  By Ground Water Canada

Ottawa – The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 195,640 units in August compared to 201,379 in July, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. “Housing starts declined in August, as construction of multi-unit dwellings slowed in most regions, led by lower activity in Alberta and Manitoba” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist, in a news release. “However, housing market activity levels remain elevated and this decline in starts is the market’s response to increasing levels of supply. Multi-unit inventories are above average in several major markets across the country.”

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 for all areas in Canada was 182,703 units in August, down from 194,663 units in July. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 6.1 per cent in August to 167,879 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 7.3 per cent to 111,378 units in August and single-detached urban starts decreased by 3.7 per cent to 56,501 units.

In August, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased in the Prairies, British Columbia, Ontario, and in Atlantic Canada, but increased in Quebec.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,824 units.

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