The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 198,880 units in February compared to 199,107 in January, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.
“The national housing starts trend held steady in February, despite some important regional variances,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “Housing starts are trending at a 4-year low in the Prairies where low oil prices have weakened consumer confidence. At the same time, starts are trending at an 8-year high in British Columbia, as new and resale home inventories remain low”.
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 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 was 212,594 units in February, up from 165,071 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 30.9 per cent in February to 200,231 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 46.0 per cent to 138,774 units in February and the single-detached urban starts increased by 6.1 per cent to 61,457 units.
In February, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in British Columbia, Ontario, Québec, Atlantic Canada and decreased in the Prairies.
Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12,363 units.