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Canadian housing starts stable in April

Seldom does the weather in Newfoundland co-operate for construction activity.
Construction on new home. FILE PHOTO

The trend in housing starts was 225,696 units in April 2018, compared to 226,942 units in March 2018, 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.

Bog Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, said the national trend in housing starts in April remained stable at historically elevated levels, with lower starts of single-detached dwellings offsetting higher starts of multi-unit dwellings.

“Notably, the national inventory of newly completed and unabsorbed multi-unit dwellings has been stable over the same period, indicating that demand for this type of unit has absorbed increased supply."

In Prince Edward Island, a low vacancy rate paired with continued in-migration to the Charlottetown area is driving demand for multiple units so far in 2018.

The volatile multiple segment was up considerably on the inclusion of recent new project construction activity.
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 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.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 214,379 units in April, down from 225,459 units in March. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 4.7% in April to 198,090 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 2.7% to 141,032 units in April while single-detached urban starts decreased by 9.3% to 57,058 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,289 units.

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