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Canadian housing starts trended lower in December


January 9, 2020
By Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

The trend in housing starts was 212,160 units in December 2019, compared to 219,921 units in November 2019, 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 decreased in December,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “The declines are primarily led by lower-trending multi-family starts in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. However, the stable starts at year-end in Vancouver and significant growth in Calgary helped to partially offset the declines in other major centres.”

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 197,329 units in December, a decrease of 3 per cent from 204,320 units in November. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 4 per cent in December to 185,934 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 5 per cent to 138,049 units in December while single-detached urban starts increased by 1 per cent to 47,885 units.

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Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11,395 units.

Preliminary Housing Starts data are also available in English and French through our website and through CMHC’s Housing Market Information Portal.