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Housing Starts Brisk in March

OTTAWA, Ontario, April 08, 2008 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 254,700 units in March, slightly down from 255,600 units in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“The high level of starts posted in February continued in March, thanks to the multiple segment and particularly condominium starts, which registered a significant rise in Alberta” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. “Nevertheless, the single-detached component, which is usually a strong trend indicator, decreased slightly. This is consistent with our view that the housing market will moderate gradually throughout 2008.”

In March the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts edged down by 0.4 per cent to 221,500 units compared to February. Urban multiples were up 1.1 per cent to 141,000 units, while singles decreased 2.9 per cent to 80,500 units.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts went down in three of Canada's five regions in March. Urban starts registered a decrease of 2.3 per cent in Ontario, 16.8 per cent in Quebec and 37.1 per cent in British Columbia. Meanwhile, urban starts jumped in the Atlantic and the Prairies with increases of 75.0 per cent and 52.5 per cent, respectively. These significant increases were mainly attributable to the urban multiple start segment which posted declines in the other regions of the country. Urban singles were up in all regions except Quebec and Ontario.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 33,200 units in March.

For the first quarter of 2008, actual starts, in rural and urban areas combined, were up an estimated 12.8 per cent compared to the same period last year. Actual starts in urban areas alone increased by an estimated 15.8 per cent year-to-date. Actual urban single starts for the first three months were 10.7 per cent lower than they were a year earlier, while multiple starts increased by 35.6 per cent over the same period.

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.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on over 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable homes — homes that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and cities across the country.

For more information, call 1-800-668-2642.

Information on this release:

Kristen Scheel
CMHC Media Relations

Julie Girard
CMHC Media Relations

For regional starts information contact:

Atlantic provinces:

Alex MacDonald


Kevin Hughes


Ted Tsiakopoulos

Prairie provinces:

Richard Corriveau

British Columbia:

Carol Frketich

Housing Starts in Canada

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*
Actual SAAR
Final Preliminary Final Preliminary
Canada, all areas 14,432 17,303 255,600 254,700
Canada, rural areas 1,850 1,695 33,200 33,200
Canada, urban centres** 12,582 15,608 222,400 221,500
Canada, singles, urban centres 5,538 4,743 82,900 80,500
Canada, multiples, urban centres 7,044 10,865 139,500 141,000
Atlantic region, urban centres 169 522 8,800 15,400
Quebec, urban centres 2,903 2,966 48,900 40,700
Ontario, urban centres 3,064 4,985 79,000 77,200
Prairie region, urban centres 3,826 4,768 38,300 58,400
British Columbia, urban centres 2,620 2,367 47,400 29,800

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

News source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)


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