Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

January 09, 2009 23:59 ET

Housing Starts Moderate in December

OTTAWA, Jan. 9 - The seasonally adjusted annual rate(1) of
housing starts was 177,300 units in December, down marginally from 178,000
units in November, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(CMHC).

"Housing starts in December were almost unchanged compared to November,"
said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "At an
estimated 212,366 units, housing starts in 2008 breached the 200,000 unit mark
for a seventh consecutive year."

Pent-up housing demand which built up over the 1990s enabled Canadian
housing starts to exceed long run demographic demand for the majority of this
decade. This excess demand has gradually decreased and CMHC expects
construction levels in 2009 to be more aligned with long run demographic
demand.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased 0.5 per
cent to 150,100 units in December. Urban multiple starts increased 3.2 per
cent to 87,400 units, while urban single starts eased 5.1 per cent to 62,700
units in December.

December's seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts moderated in
three of the five regions in Canada. Urban starts declined 12.6 per cent to
36,700 units in Quebec, 6.3 per cent to 25,100 units in the Prairies, and 3.6
per cent to 8,100 units in the Atlantic Region. British Columbia urban starts
rose 9.9 per cent to 19,900 units and Ontario urban starts climbed 8.6 per
cent to 60,300 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
27,200 units in December(2).

For the year 2008, actual starts in rural and urban areas combined
moderated by an estimated 7.0 per cent, compared to the same period last year.
Year-to-date actual starts in urban areas have decreased by an estimated 3.3
per cent compared to 2007. Actual urban single starts for 2008 were 18.1 per
cent lower than they were a year earlier while urban multiple starts were up
by 9.8 per cent over the same period.

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
estimate.

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

Please click below to view the Housing Starts in Canada - All areas chart
http://www.cmhc.ca/en/corp/nero/nere/2009/2009-01-09-0815.cfm

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Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR(*)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Actual SAAR
---------------------------------------------------
December December November December
2007 2008 2008 2008
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Final Preliminary Final Preliminary
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Canada, all areas 13,506 12,407 178,000 177,300
Canada, rural areas 2,349 1,920 27,200 27,200
Canada, urban
centres(xx) 11,157 10,487 150,800 150,100
Canada, singles,
urban centres 6,096 4,335 66,100 62,700
Canada, multiples,
urban centres 5,061 6,152 84,700 87,400

Atlantic region,
urban centres 651 574 8,400 8,100
Quebec, urban
centres 2,668 2,747 42,000 36,700
Ontario, urban
centres 3,484 4,097 55,500 60,300
Prairie region,
urban centres 2,237 1,578 26,800 25,100
British Columbia,
urban centres 2,117 1,491 18,100 19,900
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

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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