March 2012 Housing Starts in Canada
April 11, 2012 | 1:54 pm CDT

OTTAWA, ONTARIO - The seasonally adjusted annual rate(1) of housing starts was 215,600 units in March, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This is up from 205,300 units in February.

"The upward movement in March was largely due to an increase in multiple starts, particularly in Ontario and the Prairies. This was partly offset by a decrease in multiple starts in British Columbia and Quebec, while single-detached starts decreased marginally country-wide," said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre."

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 4.2 per cent to 192,100 units in March. Urban single starts moderated by 2.4 per cent in March to 68,000 units. Meanwhile, multiple urban starts were up by 8.3 per cent to 124,100 units.

March's seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 30.3 per cent in Ontario, by 6.4 per cent in the Prairies, and by 2.7 per cent in Atlantic Canada. In each of these regions, the increase was due to multiple starts, but the role of increased multiple starts was most pronounced in Ontario. Although multiple starts in Ontario increased by 50.4 per cent, the pace is exceptional and not expected to be sustained. Urban starts decreased by 27.7 per cent in British Columbia and by 16.3 per cent in Quebec.

Rural starts(2) were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 23,500 units in March.

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.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642. CMHC Market Analysis standard reports are also available free for download at

(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


(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.

March 2012 Housing Starts in Canada

                                    Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR(i)

    Actual    SAAR
  March March February March
  2011 2012 2012 2012
  Revised Preliminary Revised Preliminary
Canada, all areas 12,561 14,517 205,300 215,600
Canada, rural areas 906 756 21,000 23,500
Canada, urban centres(ii) 11,655 13,761 184,300 192,100

Canada, singles, urban

3,634 4,030 69,700 68,000

Canada, multiples, urban

8,021 9,731 114,600 124,100

Atlantic region, urban

271 333 7,400 7,600
Quebec, urban centres  3,111 2,571 41,800 35,000
Ontario, urban centres  4,940 6,062 65,400 85,200

Prairie region, urban

1,897  3,173 40,800 43,400

British Columbia, urban

1,436  1,622 28,900   20,900



(i) Seasonally adjusted annual rates

(ii) Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.

Source: CMHC


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