May Housing Starts

OTTAWA, June 8, 2010 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 189,100 units in May, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), down from a revised 201,800 units in April.

“Housing starts decreased in both the singles and the multiples segments in May,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “The decrease in housing starts in May is consistent with our forecast that housing starts for 2010 will reach 182,000 units.”

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased by 9.5 per cent to 165,200 units in May. Urban multiple starts decreased by 5.6 per cent to 92,800 units, while single urban starts decreased by 14.1 per cent to 72,400 units.

May’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased 21.8 per cent in the Prairie region, 13 per cent in Quebec, 12.9 per cent in British Columbia, and 2.7 per cent in Ontario. Urban starts increased 23.3 per cent in Atlantic Canada.

Rural starts2 were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 23,900 units in May.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. 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 vital 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 up 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 obtain 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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