According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), January saw the trend measure of housing starts drop to 199,169 units, compared to 203,304 in December. The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.
“Housing starts trended down across the country with the exception of Ontario,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC, in a press release. “The overall decline is mostly attributable to a slowdown in the Prairies where the housing starts trend was at a four-year low in January. The slowdown in new housing activity coincides with an unemployment rate that is at a five-year high in Alberta.”
The trend measure is used to complement the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for changes in monthly estimates and to provide a better picture of the state of Canada’s housing market.
The standalone monthly SAAR fell to 165,861 units in January, compared to 172,533 in December. The SAAR of urban starts declined by three per cent in January to 153,701 units. Multiple urban starts decreased 5.3 per cent in January to 95,406 units, while single-detached urban starts grew one per cent to 58,295 units.
January saw the SAAR of urban starts decline in Quebec, the Prairie Provinces and British Columbia, while they increased in Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces.
Rural starts were estimated to be at a SAAR of 12,160 units.