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October Housing Starts Down But Remain High

OTTAWA, Ontario, November 8, 2004 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 225,000 in October, down from 237,900 in September, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Strong housing starts reflect high levels of new home construction across the country. Favourable economic factors such as, recent growth in full-time employment and low mortgage rates, continue to stimulate residential construction activity, said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. Housing starts continue on pace to reach a 17-year high this year.

October housing starts in Canada's urban centres decreased 4.0 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 196,500 units as both single and multi-family sectors moved lower. Urban single detached starts fell by 4.2 per cent to 102,200 in October while urban multiple starts decreased 3.8 per cent to 94,300.

Urban housing starts in October declined in every region except Quebec and the Prairies where seasonally adjusted annual rates increased 5.4 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively. The majority of the decrease, in seasonally adjusted annual urban housing starts, occurred in British Columbia with a 21.2 per cent decline in starts, and the Atlantic region where urban housing starts decreased 13.7 per cent. In both British Columbia and the Atlantic region, the decline was mainly due to multiples. Urban starts declined by 3.8 per cent in Ontario.

The estimated number of seasonally adjusted annualized starts in Canada's rural areas was 28,500 units.

For the first ten months of this year, actual urban starts increased 5.3 per cent compared with the same period last year (from 160,905 to 169,446 starts). Single starts rose 4.6 per cent while multiple starts are up 6.1 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
(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: Vinay Bhardwaj, CMHC, (403) 515-3004,
British Columbia: Carol Frketich, CMHC, (604) 737-4067,

Housing Starts in Canada - All Areas October 2004

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*

September 2004
October 2004
Actual SAAR Actual SAAR
Canada, all areas
20,885 237,900 21,169 225,000
Canada, rural areas
3,117 33,200 3,133 28,500
Canada, urban centres**
17,768 204,700 18,036 196,500
Canada, singles, urban centres
9,352 106,700 9,092 102,200
Canada, multiples, urban centres
8,416 98,000 8,944 94,300
Atlantic region, urban centres
892 9,500 711 8,200
Quebec, urban centres
3,384 42,500 3,966 44,800
Ontario, urban centres
7,227 81,800 7,575 78,700
Prairie region, urban centres
3,474 38,800 3,625 39,500
British Columbia, urban centres
2,791 32,100 2,159 25,300

Source: CMHC

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