Multiple starts in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic region drove a modest uptick in the trend measure of housing starts in May, says Bob Dugan, chief economist for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
“Despite month-to-month variation in multiple starts, CMHC expects builders will continue to focus on managing inventory of completed but unsold units — inventory that is still above historical average,” Dugan said in a press release.
The trend measure, a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts, rose to 181,231 units from 179,524 units in April. The measure controls for considerable swings in monthly estimates, as the multi-unit segment that drives the data can vary significantly month to month.
May’s standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 201,705 units, marking an uptick from April’s 183,329 units. By the same measure, urban starts were up 10.8 per cent in May, at 185,235 units. Multi-unit urban starts were also up, 16.9 per cent, at 126,367 units. Single detached urban starts were largely unchanged at 58,868 units.
As the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts rose in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec in May, it dropped in B.C. and the Prairies.
“CMHC also forecasts slight moderation in housing starts in 2015 and 2016, reflecting a slowdown in housing market activity in oil-producing provinces that will be partly offset by increased activity in provinces that are seeing the positive impacts of low oil prices,” said Dugan.