OTTAWA, ON — The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 197,300 units in March 2010, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Seasonally adjusted annual rate estimates of housing start activity were also revised up for January and February. This resulted in month-over-month gains of 7.5% in January (189,000 units), 6.0% in February (200,400 units), and a slight decrease of 1.5% in March.

“The moderation in March housing starts was due to a decrease in the volatile multiple starts segment,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “Helping to offset this was an increase in singles starts as well as more activity in rural areas.”

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased by 4.2% to 175,200 units in March. Urban multiple starts decreased by 15.2% to 77,500 units while single urban starts increased by 6.9% to 97,700 units. March’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 13.5% in Quebec and by 7.3% in the Prairie region, but decreased by 16.3% in British Columbia, by 15.5% in Ontario, and by 8.0% in Atlantic Canada.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 22,100 units in March.

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