August 2013 Housing Starts in Canada

OTTAWA, September 10, 2013 — Housing starts in Canada were trending at 187,197 units in August compared to 187,324 in July, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)1 of housing starts.

“The trend in total housing starts continued to be relatively stable for a sixth consecutive month, remaining within a narrow range of roughly 182,000 to 188,000 units since March 2013. This is in line with our forecasts,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC.

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 the state of the housing market. In some situations analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading in some markets, as they are largely driven by the multiples segment of the markets, which can be quite volatile from one month to the next.

The stand-alone monthly SAAR was 180,291 units in August, down from 193,021 in July. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 5.8 per cent in August to 163,102 units, mostly reflecting a decline in the multiple starts segments in August. Specifically, multiple urban starts decreased by 8.4 per cent to 104,704 units in August while the single urban starts segment registered a slight decline of 0.9 per cent to 58,398 units.

In August, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Ontario, held steady in Atlantic Canada and decreased in all other regions, including the Prairies, British Columbia and Quebec.

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,189 units.

Preliminary Housing Starts data is also available in English and French at the following link: Preliminary Housing Starts Tables

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

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1All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts and the trend estimate, are seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) — that is, monthly figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels. By removing seasonal ups and downs, seasonal adjustment allows for a comparison from one season to the next and from one month to the next. Reporting monthly figures at annual rates indicates the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the monthly pace were maintained for 12 months. This facilitates comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historical annual levels.

2 CMHC estimates the level of starts in centres with a population of less than 10,000 for each of the three months of the quarter, at the beginning of each quarter. During the last month of the quarter, CMHC conducts the survey in these centres and revises the estimate.

Information on this release:

Charles Sauriol
CMHC Media Relations

Additional data is available upon request.

Housing Starts in Canada — All Areas

Preliminary Housing Start Data
August 2013
  July 2013 August 2013
Trend1, all areas 187,324 187,197
SAAR, all areas 193,021 180,291
SAAR, rural areas 19,811 17,189
SAAR, urban centres2
Single-detached 58,941 58,398
Multiples 114,269 104,704
Total 173,210 163,102
Atlantic, urban centres2 6,649 6,601
Quebec, urban centres2 29,579 28,240
Ontario, urban centres2 59,372 67,767
Prairies, urban centres2 46,624 35,504
British Columbia, urban centres2 30,986 24,990
Canada August 2012 August 2013
Actual, all areas 20,328 16,289
Actual, rural areas 2,135 1,971
Actual, urban centres2    
August — Single-detached 6,424 5,506
August — Multiples 11,769 8,812
August — Total 18,193 14,318
January to August — Single-detached 44,308 40,344
January to August — Multiples 84,564 67,206
January to August — Total 128,872 107,550

Source: CMHC
1 The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR). 
2 Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.
Detailed data available upon request.



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