OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 8, 2011) - The seasonally adjusted annual rate(1) of housing starts was 181,900 units in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This is up from 170,600 units in January 2011.

"Housing starts moved higher in February because of increases in Ontario and the Prairies," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "The bulk of this increase was felt in the multiples segment. From last month, multi-family starts were up in Saskatchewan and in Toronto."

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 9.4 per cent to 161,000 units in February. Urban multiple starts were up by 14.5 per cent in February to 94,900 units, while single urban starts edged higher by 3.0 per cent to 66,100 units.

February's seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased by 24.7 per cent in Atlantic Canada, by 7.1 per cent in Québec, and by 5.9 per cent in British Columbia. Urban starts increased by 29.3 per cent in Ontario and by 26.1 per cent in the Prairies.

Rural starts(2) were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 20,900 units in February.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642.

This release is also available on the CMHC Web site:

For regional starts information contact:

Atlantic provinces: Alex MacDonald, CMHC,
(902) 426-8964,
Quebec: Kevin Hughes, CMHC,
(514) 283-4488,
Ontario: Ted Tsiakopoulos, CMHC,
(416) 218-3407,
Prairie provinces: Lai Sing Louie, CMHC,
(403) 515-2991,
British Columbia: Carol Frketich, CMHC,
(604) 737-4067,

A graph is available at the following address:

Housing Starts, Actual and SAAR*

  Actual SAAR
  Revised Preliminary Revised Preliminary
Canada, all areas 11,259 10,659 170,600 181,900
  Canada, rural areas 622 759 23,500 20,900
  Canada, urban centres** 10,637 9,900 147,100 161,000
    Canada, singles, urban centres 4,526 3,300 64,200 66,100
    Canada, multiples, urban centres 6,111 6,600 82,900 94,900
    Atlantic region, urban centres 453 269 8,500 6,400
    Quebec, urban centres 1,967 1,746 40,800 37,900
    Ontario, urban centres 4,104 3,982 48,400 62,600
    Prairie region, urban centres 2,188 2,051 23,800 30,000
    British Columbia, urban centres 1,925 1,852 25,600 24,100
Source: CMHC
*Seasonally adjusted annual rates
** Urban centres with a population of 10,000 and over.
 Detailed data available upon request.

(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. By removing seasonal ups and downs, seasonal adjustment makes it possible to highlight the fundamental trends of a series. Reporting monthly figures at annual rates indicates the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the monthly pace was maintained for 12 months. This facilitates comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historical annual levels.

(2) CMHC estimates the level of starts in centres with a population of less than 10,000 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 these centres and revises the estimate.

Contact Information: CMHC Media Relations
Charles Sauriol