Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

March 03, 2009 23:59 ET

Housing Starts Decrease in February

OTTAWA, March 9 - The seasonally adjusted annual rate(1) of
housing starts declined to 134,600 units in February from 153,500 units in
January, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"Increased listings and reduced sales in the existing home market
continue to impact the new home market," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at
CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "The decrease in February housing starts is
partly attributable to the volatile multiple starts segment. In any given
month and given its relative importance, the volatility of the multiple starts
segment can exaggerate monthly movements up or down in the rate of housing

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased 14.9 per
cent to 107,800 units in February. Urban multiple starts decreased 17.5 per
cent to 63,300 units, while urban single starts fell 11 per cent to 44,500
units in February.

February's seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts moderated in
all of Canada's regions except Atlantic Canada, where urban starts increased
by 10.8 per cent. Urban starts fell by 19.6 per cent in Quebec, 14.4 per cent
in Ontario, 19.4 per cent in the Prairies, and 12.8 per cent in British

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
26,800 units in February(2).

New home construction is slowing to more sustainable levels and starts
are forecast to come in at 160,250 units, within a range of 141,000 to 180,000
units in 2009. These trends are reflected in the year-to-date actual starts.
These decreases, however, should be viewed in the context that housing starts
have been exceptionally strong over the past 7 years, exceeding 200,000 units
per year.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of
experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally
sustainable, and affordable homes - homes that will continue to create vibrant
and healthy communities and cities across the country.

(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.
(2) CMHC estimates the level of rural starts 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 rural areas and revises the

For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642.

This release is also available on the CMHC Web site:

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Please click below to view the Housing Starts in Canada - All areas chart

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR(*)
Actual SAAR
February February January February
2008 2009 2009 2009
Final Preli- Final Preli-
minary minary
Canada, all areas 14,268 6,598 153,500 134,600
Canada, rural areas 737 1,004 26,800 26,800
Canada, urban centres(xx) 13,531 5,594 126,700 107,800
Canada, singles, urban
centres 4,339 2,019 50,000 44,500
Canada, multiples, urban
centres 9,192 3,575 76,700 63,300

Atlantic region, urban
centres 255 262 7,400 8,200
Quebec, urban centres 2,794 1,438 36,200 29,100
Ontario, urban centres 4,399 2,206 51,500 44,100
Prairie region, urban
centres 2,464 831 17,500 14,100
British Columbia, urban
centres 3,619 857 14,100 12,300
Source: CMHC
(*) Seasonally adjusted annual rates
(xx) Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.
Detailed data available upon request.

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