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Canadian housing starts trend lower in March


April 19, 2022
By Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Housing Starts in Canada - All Areas (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

The trend in housing starts was 252,497 units in March, down from 253,296 units in February, 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, hovering above 200,000 units since June 2020; however, the trend in housing starts posted a small decline from February to March,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “The decline in the monthly SAAR housing starts in Canada’s urban areas, was driven by lower multi-unit starts, which were partially offset by higher single-detached starts in March. Among Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal was the only market to post growth in total SAAR starts, which was driven by higher multi-unit 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 March was 246,243 units, a decrease of 2 per cent from February. The SAAR of total urban starts decreased by 2 per cent to 220,708 units in March. Multi-unit urban starts decreased by 5 per cent to 154,876 units, while single-detached urban starts increased by 8 per cent to 65,832 units.

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Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 25,535 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. We will release the April data on May 16 at 8:15 AM ET.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.