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Housing Starts Moderate in December

OTTAWA, Ontario, January 09, 2009 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 177,300 units in December, down marginally from 178,000 units in November, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Housing starts in December were almost unchanged compared to November,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “At an estimated 212,366 units, housing starts in 2008 breached the 200,000 unit mark for a seventh consecutive year.”

Pent-up housing demand which built up over the 1990s enabled Canadian housing starts to exceed long run demographic demand for the majority of this decade. This excess demand has gradually decreased and CMHC expects construction levels in 2009 to be more aligned with long run demographic demand.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased 0.5 per cent to 150,100 units in December. Urban multiple starts increased 3.2 per cent to 87,400 units, while urban single starts eased 5.1 per cent to 62,700 units in December.

December’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts moderated in three of the five regions in Canada. Urban starts declined 12.6 per cent to 36,700 units in Quebec, 6.3 per cent to 25,100 units in the Prairies, and 3.6 per cent to 8,100 units in the Atlantic Region. British Columbia urban starts rose 9.9 per cent to 19,900 units and Ontario urban starts climbed 8.6 per cent to 60,300 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 27,200 units in December2.

For the year 2008, actual starts in rural and urban areas combined moderated by an estimated 7.0 per cent, compared to the same period last year. Year-to-date actual starts in urban areas have decreased by an estimated 3.3 per cent compared to 2007. Actual urban single starts for 2008 were 18.1 per cent lower than they were a year earlier while urban multiple starts were up by 9.8 per cent over the same period.

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.

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.

Information on this release:
Julie Girard
CMHC Media Relations
Tel.: 613-748-4684
Cell.: 613-295-6330
jagirard@cmhc-schl.gc.ca
Stéphanie Bento
CMHC Media Relations
Tel.: 613-748-2811
Cell.: 613-808-9670
sbento@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:
Richard Corriveau
CMHC
403-515-3005
rcorrive@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*
Actual SAAR
December
2007
December
2008
November
2008
December
2008
Final Preliminary Final Preliminary
Canada, all areas 13,506 12,407 178,000 177,300
Canada, rural areas 2,349 1,920 27,200 27,200
Canada, urban centres** 11,157 10,487 150,800 150,100
Canada, singles, urban centres 6,096 4,335 66,100 62,700
Canada, multiples, urban centres 5,061 6,152 84,700 87,400
Atlantic region, urban centres 651 574 8,400 8,100
Quebec, urban centres 2,668 2,747 42,000 36,700
Ontario, urban centres 3,484 4,097 55,500 60,300
Prairie region, urban centres 2,237 1,578 26,800 25,100
British Columbia, urban centres 2,117 1,491 18,100 19,900

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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