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Residential Construction Off to a Great Start in 2006

OTTAWA, Ontario, February 8, 2006 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 247,900 units in January, up from 232,600 units in December, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"The high number of housing starts in January is consistent with the strong level of existing home sales over the latter half of 2005. Single home starts were particularly strong, as they registered their highest level since January 1990," said Brent Weimer, Senior Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. "Despite this strong opening, we expect the level of activity to moderate in 2006 compared to 2005, as higher mortgage carrying costs due to strong house price growth and modest increases in mortgage rates will contribute to ease the demand for both existing and new homes," according to Bertrand Recher, Senior Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts rose 8.2 per cent to 215,300 units with increases in both single and multiple starts. Multiple starts increased by 2.4 per cent to 103,500 units and single starts jumped 14.3 per cent to 111,800 units in January compared to December.

Urban housing starts were up across all regions except for British Columbia in January. In the Atlantic region, unseasonably warm weather and a high level of activity in the volatile multiple segment have pushed the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts to an impressive 79.5 per cent increase to 13,100 units, while it rose 9.9 per cent to 86,800 units in Ontario, 6.2 per cent to 43,000 units in Quebec, and 5.5 per cent to 40,500 units in the Prairies. Urban starts were down 5.3 per cent to 31,900 units in British Columbia.

Rural starts in January were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 32,600 units.

For the first month of the year, actual urban starts were 23.2 per cent higher than in the same period in 2005. Single starts increased 26.7 per cent and multiple starts rose 19.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada’s national housing agency for over 60 years. CMHC contributes to improving the living conditions and the well-being of Canadians through four areas of housing activities — housing finance, assisted housing, research and information transfer, and export promotion. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, and making vibrant and sustainable communities and cities a reality across the country. For more information, call 1 800 668-2642.

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:

Brent Weimer
CMHC
(613) 748-2868
bweimer@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 - All Areas

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*

December 2005
Final
January 2006
Preliminary

Actual

SAAR

Actual

SAAR

Canada, all areas

18,220

232,600

13,267

247,900

Canada, rural areas

2,860

33,700

1,305

32,600

Canada, urban centres**

15,360

198,900

11,962

215,300

Canada, singles, urban centres

7,265

97,800

5,900

111,800

Canada, multiples, urban centres

8,095

101,100

6,062

103,500

Atlantic region, urban centres

619

7,300

537

13,100

Quebec, urban centres

3,434

40,500

2,220

43,000

Ontario, urban centres

5,811

79,000

4,409

86,800

Prairie region, urban centres

2,917

38,400

2,558

40,500

British Columbia, urban centres

2,579

33,700

2,238

31,900

Source: CMHC

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