Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

June 08, 2012 08:15 ET

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: May 2012 Housing Starts in British Columbia

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 8, 2012) - The number of housing starts in urban areas1 of British Columbia was trending at 24,300 units in May, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)2 of urban housing starts. The standalone monthly SAAR was 26,600 units in May, up from 22,000 units in April.

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

"May housing starts data showed a return to levels of residential construction consistent with the region's population and employment growth, and with CMHC's 2012 forecast," said Carol Frketich, CMHC's British Columbia Regional Economist. "Single-detached home starts in May were close to May 2011 levels, while the number of multiple-family starts was down about 12 per cent compared to the level one year ago."

Actual urban housing starts totalled 2,287 last month, compared to 2,517 recorded in May 2011. CMHC forecasts 28,500 housing starts in 2012.

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.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642. CMHC Market Analysis standard reports are also available free for download at

Preliminary housing starts numbers are summarized in the attached tables. To view the map and tables accompanying this press release please click on the following link:

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1 Urban areas have a population of 10,000 or more.
2 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.

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