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Canadian housing starts trend lower in January: CMHC


February 15, 2022
By Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Housing starts in Canada - all areas. Photo: CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The trend in housing starts was 254,133 units in January, down from 261,352 units in December, 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.

“On a trend and monthly SAAR basis, the level of housing starts activity in Canada remains historically high; however, the six-month trend in housing starts was lower from December to January,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “For SAAR housing starts in Canada’s urban areas, single-detached starts were higher, while multi-family starts declined in January. Among Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal was the only market to post growth in total SAAR starts in January, due to higher single-detached and multi-family starts.”

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 clearer picture of upcoming new housing supply. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada in January was 230,754 units, a decrease of three per cent from 238,405 units in December. The SAAR of total urban starts decreased by five per cent to 204,428 units in January. Multiple urban starts decreased by nine per cent to 144,332 units, while single-detached urban starts increased by seven per cent to 60,096 units.

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Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 26,326 units.

Monthly Housing Starts and Other Construction Data are accessible in English and French on our website and the CMHC Housing Market Information Portal. Housing starts data is available on the eleventh business day each month.