OTTAWA, Ontario, April 8, 2005 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 218,500 in March, up 0.3 per cent from 217,800 in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
"The high level of starts in March indicates that demand for new housing remains strong, supported by low mortgage rates and high levels of employment," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "Housing starts were lower than they were a year earlier, suggesting that activity in the housing market is slowing from its peak level set in 2004."
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts rose 0.4 per cent to 190,100 units in March. An increase in multiples starts was partially offset by a decline in singles. Multiple starts climbed 2.2 per cent in March to 97,000 while single starts declined 1.5 per cent to 93,100 on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.
In March, new construction activity was strongest in Western Canada. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts in British Columbia and the Prairies rose 11.3 per cent and 9.7 per cent, respectively. Housing starts decreased in March compared to last month in the Atlantic region (10.6 per cent), in Quebec (8.7), and in Ontario (2.2 per cent).
Rural starts in March were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 28,400 units.
For the first three months of 2005, actual urban starts were 5.9 per cent lower than in the same period of 2004. Year to date single starts fell 9.4 per cent, and multiple starts eased 2.6 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.
Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*
|Canada, all areas||12,014||217,800||14,203||218,500|
|Canada, rural areas||1,110||28,400||1,436||28,400|
|Canada, urban centres**||10,904||189,400||12,767||190,100|
|Canada, singles, urban centres||4,983||94,500||5,932||93,100|
|Canada, multiples, urban centres||5,921||94,900||6,835||97,000|
|Atlantic region, urban centres||222||8,500||206||7,600|
|Quebec, urban centres||2,379||42,700||2,582||39,000|
|Ontario, urban centres||3,878||72,000||4,758||70,400|
|Prairie region, urban centres||2,461||37,100||2,816||40,700|
|British Columbia, urban centres||1,964||29,100||2,405||32,400|
*Seasonally adjusted annual rates
** Urban centres with a population of 10,000 persons and over.
Detailed data available upon request.