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2003 Starts Best Since 1988

OTTAWA, Ontario, January 9, 2004 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 217,600 in December, compared to 215,000 in November, reports Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC

"Annual starts in 2003 were at their highest level since 1988, thanks to low mortgage rates, growing employment and increasing incomes," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) Market Analysis Centre. "Total housing starts for 2003 are an estimated 217,800, representing 6.2 per cent growth over 2002."

"A better balance between listings and sales in the existing home market as well as expected rising mortgage rates will ease the pace of new home construction to just over 204,000 units in 2004."

Urban single starts decreased 2.2 per cent in December to 103,500 units, at seasonally adjusted annual rates, from 105,800 units in November. This decrease was reflected in all regions of the country from Ontario westward but Quebec and the Atlantic region had slight increases. Canada-wide, actual urban single starts for 2003 are estimated to be 2.7 per cent lower than in 2002.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban multiple starts rose 5.9 per cent to 88,200 units in December, from 83,300 units in November. Most of the increases occurred in Ontario but British Columbia, the Prairies, and the Atlantic region also had gains while multiple starts fell in Quebec. Nationally, actual urban multiple starts for 2003 are estimated to have increased by 20.5 per cent over 2002 levels.

Rural starts in December were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 25,900 units.

Information on this release:

Bob Dugan
(613) 748-4009

For regional starts information contact:

Atlantic provinces: Alex MacDonald, CMHC, (902) 426-8964,

Quebec: Kevin Hughes, CMHC, (514) 283-4488,

Ontario: Alex Medow, CMHC, (416) 218-3344,

Prairie provinces: Brian Hollohan, CMHC, (403) 515-2993,

British Columbia: Carol Frketich, CMHC, (604) 737-4067,

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

Chart - Housing Starts in Canada for Decemeber 2003

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*
November 2003 December 2003
Final Estimate Preliminary
Actual SAAR Actual SAAR
Canada, all areas 18,898 215,000 16,446 217,600
Canada, rural areas 2,304 25,900 2,038 25,900
Canada, urban centres** 16,594 189,100 14,408 191,700
Canada, singles, urban centres 8,933 105,800 7,480 103,500
Canada, multiples, urban centres 7,661 83,300 6,928 88,200
Atlantic region, urban centres 946 9,500 960 11,000
Quebec, urban centres 3,883 44,800 3,421 43,200
Ontario, urban centres 6,623 73,700 5,655 77,100
Prairie region, urban centres 3,020 36,000 2,567 34,900
British Columbia, urban centres 2,122 25,500 1,805 25,500

Source: CMHC

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