Canadian Housing Starts Trended Lower in September

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October 20, 2021

The trend in housing starts was 271,068 units in September 2021, down from 284,757 units in August 2021, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

“The six-month trend in housing starts declined from August to September, with total starts continuing to pull back from their earlier 2021 levels,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Single-detached and multi-family SAAR starts were both lower in Canada’s urban areas in September, which led to a decline in overall SAAR starts for the month. On a trend and monthly SAAR basis, however, the level of housing starts activity in Canada remains high in historical terms. Among Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver was the only market not to register growth in total SAAR starts in September, due to a decline in the multi-family segment.”

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 Canada’s housing market. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 251,151 units in September, a decrease of 4.4% from 262,754 units in August. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 4.5% in September to 223,055 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 4% to 165,861 units in September, while single-detached urban starts decreased by 5.9% to 57,194 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 28,096 units.

Monthly Housing Starts and Other Construction Data are accessible in English and French on our website and the CMHC Housing Market Information Portal. Housing starts data is available on the eleventh business day each month. We will release the October data on November 16 at 8:15 AM ET.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

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