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Housing Starts Up in August

OTTAWA, Ontario, September 09, 2008 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 211,000 units in August, up from 186,500 units in July, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“After a brief pause in July, the volatile multiple segment bounced back to a level of activity that is more consistent with our forecast for this year,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. “Most of the volatility in housing starts over the last three months reflected swings in multiple starts in Ontario.”

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts rose 15.2 per cent in August compared to July. Both urban multiples and singles moved higher, with an increase of 25.2 per cent for multiples to 114,700 units, and a 2.0 per cent increase for singles to 71,200 units.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts was down in every region except Ontario where housing starts jumped 81.0 per cent to 86,500. Urban starts sagged 22.5 per cent to 23,700 units in the Prairies and dropped 11.5 in Atlantic Canada. Smaller declines of 8.7 per cent and 8.2 per cent were recorded in Quebec (37,600 units) and British Columbia (30,400 units) respectively.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 25,100 units in August2.

For the first eight months of 2008, actual starts in rural and urban areas combined were down an estimated 4.3 per cent compared to the same period last year. Year-to-date actual starts in urban areas have increased by an estimated 1.0 per cent over the same period in 2007. Actual urban single starts for the January to August period of this year were 16.8 per cent lower than they were a year earlier, while urban multiple starts were up by 17.6 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.

2 CMHC estimates the level of rural starts for each of the three months of the quarter, at the beginning of each quarter. During the last month of the quarter, CMHC conducts the survey in rural areas and revises the estimate.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 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:

Julie Girard
CMHC Media Relations
Tel.: 613-748-4684
Cell: 613-295-6330

For regional starts information contact:

Atlantic provinces:
Alex MacDonald
Kevin Hughes
Ted Tsiakopoulos
Prairie provinces:
Richard Corriveau
British Columbia:
Carol Frketich

Housing Starts

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*
Actual SAAR
Final Preliminary Final Preliminary
Canada, all areas 20,868 18,396 186,500 211,000
Canada, rural areas 3,667 2,525 25,100 25,100
Canada, urban centres** 17,201 15,871 161,400 185,900
Canada, singles, urban centres 8,526 6,406 69,800 71,200
Canada, multiples, urban centres 8,675 9,465 91,600 114,700
Atlantic region, urban centres 1,071 783 8,700 7,700
Quebec, urban centres 3,221 2,869 41,200 37,600
Ontario, urban centres 5,721 7,768 47,800 86,500
Prairie region, urban centres 4,447 2,034 30,600 23,700
British Columbia, urban centres 2,741 2,417 33,100 30,400

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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