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May 2022 housing starts
June 15, 2022

Canadian housing starts trend lower in May

The trend in housing starts was 254,727 units in May, down from 257,833 units in April, 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.

“On a trend and monthly SAAR basis, the level of housing starts activity in Canada is historically high, staying well above 200,000 units since 2020 and despite the lower trend, the monthly SAAR was higher from April to May,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “The increase in monthly SAAR housing starts in Canada’s urban areas was driven by higher multi-unit starts in May. Among Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver was the only market to post a decrease in total SAAR starts, which was driven by lower multi-unit and single-detached starts.”

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 clearer picture of upcoming new housing supply. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada in May was 287,257 units, an increase of 8% from April. The SAAR of total urban starts increased by 8% to 264,162 units in May. Multi-unit urban starts increased by 13% to 201,193 units, while single-detached urban starts decreased by 4% to 62,969 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 23,095 units.


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