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Canadian housing starts declined in February: CMHC

March 9, 2020  By Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

The trend in housing starts was 208,525 units in February 2020, compared to 211,153 units in January 2020, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

“The national trend in housing starts declined in February, driven by lower-trending multi-unit starts.” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Single and multi-unit starts in Toronto both trended lower, while activity in Montréal declined due to lower-trending multi-unit starts. This offset a slight up-tick in Vancouver, which follows four consecutive declines in that CMA.”

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 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 of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 210,069 units in February, a decrease of 1.9 per cent from 214,031 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts also decreased by 1.9 per cent in February to 199,304 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 6.1 per cent to 146,072 units in February while single-detached urban starts increased by 11.9 per cent to 53,232 units.


Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 10,765 units.


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