The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 179,299 units in April compared to 179,114 in March, 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.
“Elevated levels of multi-unit starts during mid-2014 caused the trend to peak in September. Starts activity since then has trended down to current stable levels as builders have adjusted activity to manage inventories,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “This trend is in line with CMHC’s expectations for housing starts in 2015.”
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 181,814 units in April, down from 189,546 units in March. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 6.6 per cent in April to 165,445 units. Multi-unit urban starts decreased by 14.2 per cent to 107,216 units in April while the single-detached urban starts segment increased by 11.4 per cent to 58,229 units.
In April, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Atlantic and British Columbia, while it essentially held steady in Ontario and decreased in the Prairies and Québec.