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Canadian housing starts trend slightly lower in February


March 15, 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 251,579 units in February, down from 253,864 units in January, 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 declined slightly from January to February,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “For SAAR housing starts in Canada’s urban areas, both single-detached and multi-unit starts increased in February. Among Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Toronto was the only market to post growth in total SAAR starts in February, due to higher single-detached and 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 February was 247,256 units, an increase of eight per cent from 229,185 units in January. The SAAR of total urban starts increased by 10 per cent to 222,563 units in February. Multi-unit urban starts increased by 13 per cent to 161,912 units, while single-detached urban starts increased by two per cent to 60,651 units.

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Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 24,693 units.