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Multiple Construction Pushes Housing Starts Higher in July

OTTAWA, Ontario, August 9, 2005 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 242,300 units in July, up 0.4 per cent from 241,300 units in June, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"Low mortgage rates and favourable labour market conditions have boosted new home construction to its highest level of the year," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts rose 2.1 per cent to 211,600 units in July, due solely to a surge in multiple starts. Single starts declined 9.0 per cent to 89,500 units, while multiple starts were up 12.2 per cent to 122,100 units in July compared to June. The stronger performance of multiple starts compared to single starts is consistent with the expectation that rising house prices will result in a shift in demand toward less expensive multi-family homes.

Urban housing starts were up in all regions except for Ontario in July. Housing starts were up 17.1 per cent to 32,800 units in BC, 15.3 per cent to 45,300 units in Quebec, 4.0 per cent to 7,800 units in the Atlantic and 2.5 per cent to 36,600 units in the Prairies. In Ontario, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts in July fell 7.9 per cent to 89,100 units, despite the near record activity in the Toronto market, where monthly starts posted their second highest showing on record.

Rural starts in July were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 30,700 units.

For the first seven months of 2005, actual urban starts were 2.6 per cent lower than in the same period in 2004. Year-to-date single starts decreased 9.8 per cent, while multiple starts increased 5.5 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 in Canada

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*

June 2005
Final
July 2005 Preliminary
Actual
SAAR
Actual
SAAR
Canada, all areas
22,852
241,300
23,335
242,300
Canada, rural areas
3,398
34,100
3,425
30,700
Canada, urban centres**
19,454
207,200
19,910
211,600
Canada, singles, urban centres
10,108
98,400
8,947
89,500
Canada, multiples, urban centres
9,346
108,800
10,963
122,100
Atlantic region, urban centres
962
7,500
875
7,800
Quebec, urban centres
3,520
39,300
3,836
45,300
Ontario, urban centres
9,167
96,700
8,902
89,100
Prairie region, urban centres
3,324
35,700
3,323
36,600
British Columbia, urban centres
2,481
28,000
2,974
32,800

Source: CMHC

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