TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 9, 2015) - Housing starts in the Ontario region were trending at 53,710 units in January, down from 54,878 units in December, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)[1] of housing starts.

The SAAR of total urban housing starts was 59,316 units in January, up from 56,798 units in December. Ontario urban housing starts are running three per cent above levels this time last year. Most of the increase in starts occurred in the GTA and southwestern Ontario centres in January.

"All of the increase in starts occurred in the less expensive multi-unit home sector which includes semi detached, row and apartment dwellings. Apartment starts, both ownership and rental, have regained momentum since August of 2014 and are solely responsible for recent increases in construction activity. Lower Ontario rental apartment vacancy rates, rising single detached home prices and increasing densification will continue to support apartment construction," said Ted Tsiakopoulos, CMHC's Ontario Regional Economist.

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 the housing market. In some situations, analysing only SAAR data can be misleading in some markets, as they are largely driven by the multiples segment of the markets which can be quite variable from one month to the next.

Preliminary Housing Starts data is also available in English and French at the following link: Preliminary Housing Starts Tables

As Canada's authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

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[1] All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts and the trend estimate, 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 allows for a comparison from one season to the next and from one month to the next. 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.

Additional data is available upon request.

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A table and a graph are available at the following address:

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