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CMHC: Canadian housing starts down in February


March 16, 2021
By Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Housing Starts in Canada - All Areas (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

The trend in housing starts was 242,777 units in February 2021, down from 244,963 units in January 2021, 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, but remained elevated,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Single-detached SAAR starts declined in February following strong growth in January, particularly in Montreal. Multi-family SAAR starts also declined in several centres in February, further contributing to the decline in the overall trend.”

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 the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 245,922 units in February, a decrease of 13.5 per cent from 284,372 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 14 per cent in February to 231,042 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 15.8 per cent to 163,757 units in February while single-detached urban starts decreased by 9.3 per cent to 67,285 units.

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Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,880 units.