OTTAWA, ON — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 200,200 units in December, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This is up from 185,600 units in November 2011. Actual housing starts for 2011 are being verified and will be reported in the January edition of Monthly Housing Statistics.

“The increase posted in December was mainly attributable to the multiple urban starts, particularly in Ontario and in Atlantic Canada”, said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 10.1 per cent to 181,900 units in December. Urban single starts increased by 3.8 per cent in December to 70,600 units, while multiple urban starts were up by 14.5 per cent to 111,300 units.

December’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 52.9 per cent in Atlantic Canada, 35.3 per cent in Ontario and by 9 per cent in Québec. Urban starts decreased by 19.8 per cent in British Columbia and by 11 per cent in the Prairies.

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,300 units in December.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

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. By removing seasonal ups and downs, seasonal adjustment makes it possible to highlight the fundamental trends of a series. Reporting monthly figures at annual rates indicates the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the monthly pace was maintained for 12 months. This facilitates comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historical annual levels.

2 CMHC estimates the level of starts in centres with a population of less than 10,000 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 these centres and revises the estimate.

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