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March Starts from StatsCan

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 215,600 units in March


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April 11, 2012 by Robert Koci

, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This is up from 205,300 units in February.

“The upward movement in March was largely due to an increase in multiple starts, particularly in Ontario and the Prairies. This was partly offset by a decrease in multiple starts in British Columbia and Quebec, while single-detached starts decreased marginally country-wide,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 4.2 per cent to 192,100 units in March. Urban single starts moderated by 2.4 per cent in March to 68,000 units. Meanwhile, multiple urban starts were up by 8.3 per cent to 124,100 units.

March’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 30.3 per cent in Ontario, by 6.4 per cent in the Prairies, and by 2.7 per cent in Atlantic Canada. In each of these regions, the increase was due to multiple starts, but the role of increased multiple starts was most pronounced in Ontario. Although multiple starts in Ontario increased by 50.4 per cent, the pace is exceptional and not expected to be sustained. Urban starts decreased by 27.7 per cent in British Columbia and by 16.3 per cent in Québec.

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 23,500 units in March.

For more information, call 1-800-668-2642. CMHC Market Analysis standard reports are also available free for download at www.cmhc.ca/housingmarketinformation.

1 All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts, 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 makes it possible to highlight the fundamental trends of a series. Reporting monthly figures at annual rates indicates the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the monthly pace was 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.