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Starts Remain Strong in March

OTTAWA, Ontario, April 8, 2003 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts in Canada was 210,500 in March with the new housing market continuing to show a high level of activity, reports Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"Despite a decrease in starts in March compared with February, the underlying housing market remains strong thanks to employment growth, increasing incomes and low mortgage rates", said David Weingarden, Senior Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "Actual starts for the first quarter of 2003 exceeded last year's first quarter by 6.1 per cent."

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban single starts decreased 10.2 per cent to 93,200 units in March from 103,800 units in February. In terms of actual starts, urban single starts year-to-date were only 0.4 per cent lower than for the same period of 2002. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban multiple starts decreased 20.7 per cent to 95,600 units in March compared with 120,600 units in February.

"Nevertheless, actual first quarter urban multiple starts were impressive, increasing by 13 per cent compared with the same period in 2002," added Weingarden.

"The large number of condominium projects in Toronto, which began construction in February, propelled multiple starts noticeably higher. As expected however, this high level of multiple starts did not continue in March so total starts moved to a level more in line with recent trends", added Weingarden.

Rural starts in March were estimated at an annual rate of 21,700 units.

1. All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts, are seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) that are monthly figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels.
2. Figures for the most recent month are preliminary and subject to revisions due to corrections or updates from quarterly enumeration or sampling results.

Information on this release:

Bob Dugan
Tel: (613) 748-4009

For regional starts information contact:

Atlantic: Alex MacDonald, CMHC, (902) 426-8964,
Quebec: Kevin Hughes, CMHC, (514) 283-4488,
Ontario: Brent Weimer, CMHC, (416) 218-3329,
Prairies: Vinay Bhardwaj, CMHC, (403) 515-3004,
British Columbia: Carol Frketich, CMHC, (604) 737-4067,

Chart - Housing Starts in Canada for March 2003

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*

  February 2003
March 2003
  Actual SAAR Actual SAAR
Canada, all areas 14,127 246,100 12,600 210,500
Canada, rural areas 778 21,700 1,005 21,700
Canada, urban centres** 13,349 224,400 11,595 188,800
Canada, singles, urban centres 5,496 103,800 6,017 93,200
Canada, multiples, urban centres 7,853 120,600 5,578 95,600
Atlantic region, urban centres 280 9,000 371 21,800
Quebec, urban centres 1,965 37,500 2,323 33,100
Ontario, urban centres 6,707 114,800 4,774 72,500
Prairie region, urban centres 2,808 40,100 2,635 40,200
British Columbia, urban centres 1,589 23,000 1,492 21,200

Source: CMHC

* Seasonally adjusted annual rates
** Urban centres with a population of 10,000 persons and over.

News source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)


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