Ground Water Canada

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Rural housing starts up, overall starts down in March


May 3, 2016
By Ground Water Canada

Ottawa – The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 196,783 units in March compared to 201,618 in February, and rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19,299 units, up from 12,363 units in February, 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.

“Overall, starts were trending lower in March due to a slowdown in multi-unit construction,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC chief economist, in a news release. “This was the case across the country, except in British Columbia where declining inventories of new and unsold units as well as low levels of new listings in the resale market spurred builders to start new projects.”

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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 204,251 units in March, down from 219,077 units in February. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 7.0 per cent in March to 185,022 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 9.7 per cent to 123,207 units in March and the single-detached urban starts decreased by 1.1 per cent to 61,815 units.

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