Has the Canadian housing market levelled off?

Canadian housing market

The trend in housing starts was 283,971 units in August 2021, down from 286,076 units in July 2021, 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.

mortgage rates

“The six-month trend in housing starts to declined from July to August, with total starts continuing to retreat from their highs earlier this year,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “In August, both single-detached and multi-family SAAR starts were lower in Canada’s urban areas, resulting in a decline in overall SAAR starts for the month. However, on a trend and monthly SAAR basis, the level of starts activity remains elevated by historical standards. Among Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Toronto was the only market to register growth in total SAAR starts in August, due to modest growth in the multi-family segment.”

Housing Starts in Canada – All Areas (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

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 the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 260,239 units in August, a decrease of 3.9% from 270,744 units in July. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 4.7% in August to 235,782 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 5.7% to 173,120 units in August, while single-detached urban starts decreased by 2% to 62,662 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 24,457 units.

Monthly Housing Starts and Other Construction Data  are accessible in English and French on our website and the CMHC Housing Market Information Portal. Housing starts data is available on the eleventh business day each month. We will release the September data on October 18 at 8:15 AM ET.

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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