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Housing Starts Up in August

OTTAWA, Ontario, September 9, 2003 — New home construction continued to rally in August as the seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts increased to 233,900 from 223,500 in July, reports Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"Low mortgage rates and the belief that today is a good time to buy a house contributed to the strength in housing markets," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "Mortgage rates are near 50 year lows, keeping the carrying costs of mortgages down. This encourages move-up buying by existing homeowners and attracts renter households into the home ownership market. Year-to-date, actual starts have exceeded last year's level by 4.7 per cent."

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban multiple starts was up 16.2 per cent to 105,500 units in August compared with 90,800 units in July. Nationally, year-to-date actual urban multiple starts increased 16.1 per cent compared with the same period in 2002.

After rising to 103,100 units in July, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban single starts fell to 98,800 units in August, down 4.2 per cent, reversing most of the previous month's gains. The largest decrease was in Ontario, where a state of emergency brought on by electrical power shortages during the week following the power blackout likely slowed single home construction starts. Canada-wide, year-to-date actual urban single starts are down 3.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2002.

Rural starts in August were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 29,600 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.


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 August

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*

  July 2003
Final Estimate
August 2003
  Actual SAAR Actual SAAR
Canada, all areas 21,053 223,500 21,413 233,900
Canada, rural areas 3,056 29,600 3,045 29,600
Canada, urban centres** 18,097 193,900 18,368 204,300
Canada, singles, urban centres 10,002 103,100 9,078 98,800
Canada, multiples, urban centres 8,095 90,800 9,290 105,500
Atlantic region, urban centres 1,217 9,500 852 8,700
Quebec, urban centres 3,244 39,500 3,652 48,900
Ontario, urban centres 7,468 79,700 7,873 80,700
Prairie region, urban centres 3,453 37,200 3,579 38,600
British Columbia, urban centres 2,715 28,000 2,412 27,400

Source: CMHC

*Seasonally adjusted annual rates
** Urban centres with a population of 10,000 persons and over.
Detailed data available upon request.

News source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)


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