The building of new homes in Canada declined in December for the fourth consecutive month, according to new data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Housing starts in Canada were trending at 212,282 units last month, CMHC reports. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. The standalone monthly SAAR was 197,976 units in December, down slightly from 201,376 in November.
“As expected, housing starts remained below their recent trend in Canada. The decrease recorded in December was due to a decline in rural starts, while urban starts remained stable,” said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC, in a news release.
Seasonally adjusted, December’s annual rate of urban starts nationwide dropped just 0.1 per cent to 178,870 units, with single starts up 8.6 per cent to 67,419 units and multiple starts down 4.7 per cent to 111,451 units.
Regionally, December’s seasonally adjusted annual rates of urban starts decreased in the Prairie provinces by 23.9 per cent, went down in Quebec by 11.8 per cent and slipped in British Columbia by 8.2 per cent. Urban starts remained relatively unchanged in Atlantic Canada, down only 1.6 per cent, and increased in Ontario by 33.4 per cent (Ontario was the only region where housing starts increased. Click here for a closer look at the data from that province).
Rural starts nationwide were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19,106 units in December.
CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of the state of the Canadian housing market.