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A Few Words on Housing in Canada

Phil Hall
Nov 10, 2016
Donald Trump’s presidential election victory has fueled a new level of talk by disenchanted Americans that insist they would rather live in Canada than stay in this country

Donald Trump’s presidential election victory has fueled a new level of talk by disenchanted Americans that insist they would rather live in Canada than stay in this country. In case anyone is seriously considering a move up north, the Canadian housing market might not be able to accommodate an immediate mass exodus of anti-Trump Americans.

According to data released earlier this week by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 199,920 units in October compared to 199,262 in September. The CMHC defines its trend measure as a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

The standalone monthly SAAR for all areas in Canada was 192,928 units in October, down from 219,363 units in September. Within the major metro areas, the SAAR of urban starts decreased by 12.1 per cent in October to 176,131 units, while multiple urban starts decreased by 15.3 per cent to 115,402 units in October and single-detached urban starts decreased by 5.4 per cent to 60,729 units. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased in British Columbia, Quebec, the Prairies, and in Atlantic Canada, but increased in Ontario, and rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,797 units.

“In October, housing starts remained stable, as the trend remained essentially unchanged from September,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “While apartment starts are on a downward trend in British Columbia after reaching an all-time high at the beginning of the year, increased construction of single, semi-detached and row units in the rest of the country have helped offset the decline.”

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 the state 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.

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