Print Back

Housing Starts Decrease but Remain Strong in May

OTTAWA, Ontario, June 8, 2005 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 218,800 units in May, down 5.0 per cent from 230,400 units in April, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Housing starts remained strong in May and are in line with our expectations for the year, said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. Employment growth, particularly in full-time jobs, in recent years and very low mortgage rates continue to fuel high levels of housing starts. Mortgage rates, which have edged lower in recent weeks, should continue to support residential construction over the coming months.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts fell by 5.8 per cent to 188,800 units in May, due to a decrease in multiple starts. Single starts edged up by 0.2 per cent to 96,200 units, building on April's gain. Multiple starts, on the other hand, were down 11.3 per cent to 92,600 units in May.

In May, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 18.6 per cent in British Columbia, 11.2 per cent in the Atlantic Provinces, and 8.8 per cent in the Prairies. However, a 23.2 per cent decrease in starts in Quebec and 14.4 per cent decrease in Ontario more than offset the gains in the rest of the country.

Rural starts in May were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 30,000 units.

For the first five months of 2005, actual urban starts were 7.0 per cent lower than in the same period in 2004. Year-to-date single starts fell 10.4 per cent, and multiple starts eased 3.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

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:
Vinay Bhardwaj
CMHC
(403) 515-3004
vbhardwa@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

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

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*

April 2005
Final

May 2005
Preliminary

Actual
SAAR
Actual
SAAR
Canada, all areas 21,818 230,400 21,256 218,800
Canada, rural areas 2,865 30,000 3,206 30,000
Canada, urban centres** 18,953 200,400 18,050 188,800
Canada, singles, urban centres 8,958 96,000 9,782 96,200
Canada, multiples, urban centres 9,995 104,400 8,268 92,600
Atlantic region, urban centres 636 8,900 1,020 9,900
Quebec, urban centres 5,164 44,900 3,708 34,500
Ontario, urban centres 6,914 77,200 6,297 66,100
Prairie region, urban centres 3,533 40,900 3,977 44,500
British Columbia, urban centres 2,706 28,500 3,048 33,800
Canadian Housing Starts Chart May 2005

Source: CMHC

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