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Housing Starts Remain High In May

OTTAWA, Ontario, June 8, 2004 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 238,800 in May, compared with 241,600 in April, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"Housing construction is off to a strong start this year," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "January to May had the most starts for any such period since 1987. The housing market continues to benefit from positive economic factors nationwide, particularly low mortgage rates, improving employment and strong consumer confidence."

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts fell 1.3 per cent to 208,000 units in May. Urban multiple starts decreased 6.2 per cent in May to 101,100 but urban single starts rose 3.8 per cent to 106,900 on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.

In all regions of Canada, except British Columbia, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in May: 6.2 per cent in the Atlantic; 2.3 per cent in Quebec; 2.1 per cent in Ontario and; 1.5 per cent in the Prairies. In British Columbia, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts fell 16.5 per cent in May, but despite this decline, starts are up nearly 50 per cent on a year-to-date basis.

Rural starts in May were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 30,800 units.

Year to date actual urban starts were 10.4 per cent higher through May than for the same period last year. Single starts were up 5.4 per cent while multiple starts were up 15.9 per cent.

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.

Information on this release:

Bob Dugan
CMHC
(613) 748-4009
bdugan@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

For regional starts information contact:

Atlantic provinces:
Alex MacDonald
CMHC
(902) 426-8964
amacdona@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Quebec:

Kevin Hughes
CMHC
(514) 283-4488
khughes@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Ontario:

Ted Tsiakopoulos
CMHC
(416) 218-3407
ttsiakop@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Prairie provinces:

Brent Weimer
CMHC
(403) 515-3004
bweimer@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

British Columbia:

Carol Frketich
CMHC
(604) 737-4067
cfrketic@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Chart - Housing Starts in Canada for May 2004

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*

April 2004
Final

May 2004 Preliminary
Actual
SAAR
Actual
SAAR
Canada, all areas
22,752
241,600
23,568
238,800
Canada, rural areas
3,129
30,800
3,354
30,800
Canada, urban centres**
19,623
210,800
20,214
208,000
Canada, singles, urban centres
9,731
103,000
10,965
106,900
Canada, multiples, urban centres
9,892
107,800
9,249
101,100

Atlantic region, urban centres
548
8,100
891
8,600
Quebec, urban centres
5,428
48,400
5,326
49,500
Ontario, urban centres
7,161
80,600
7,979
82,300
Prairie region, urban centres
2,823
33,700
3,037
34,200
British Columbia, urban centres
3,663
40,000
2,981
33,400

Source: CMHC

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