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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation-Canadian housing starts - August 2020
September 13, 2020

Canadian housing starts increase in August

The trend in housing starts was 213,144 units in August 2020, up from 204,597 units in July 2020, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

“The national trend in housing starts increased for a third consecutive month in August,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Higher multi-family starts in Ontario, including Toronto, drove the national increase. We expect national starts to trend lower by the end of 2020 as a result of the negative impact of COVID-19 on economic and housing indicators.”

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of Canada’s housing market. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 262,396 units in August, an increase of 6.9% from 245,425 units in July. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 7.1% in August to 248,154 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 9.1% to 201,214 units in August while single-detached urban starts decreased by 1.0% to 46,940 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,242 units.