Canadian Housing Starts Trend Declines in May

The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 191,000 units in May compared to 194,950 in April, 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.

“Housing starts slowed in May, and are now on pace to reach 191,000 units in Canada — falling within the upper range of our housing market outlook forecast for the year,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC Chief Economist. “The decline we see in the trend is led by fewer multiple starts in urban areas, particularly in larger centres like Toronto.”

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 multiunit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR for all areas in Canada was 188,570 units in May, down from 191,388 units in April. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 2.5 per cent in May to 170,432 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 5.7 per cent to 110,834 units in May and the single-detached urban starts increased by 4.2 per cent to 59,598 units.

In May, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased in British Columbia and the Prairies, but increased in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and Québec. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,138 units.


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