Housing starts data revealed

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The trend measure for housing starts in Canada holds steady in February.

The CMHC’s housing start measure fell slightly to 198,880 in February from January’s mark of 199,107.

“The national housing starts trend held steady in February, despite some important regional variances,” CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan said. “Housing starts are trending at a 4-year low in the Prairies where low oil prices have weakened consumer confidence. At the same time, starts are trending at an 8-year high in British Columbia, as new and resale home inventories remain low.”

The Crown Corporation’s trend measure is used to complement monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts. It helps provide a more accurate picture of Canada’s housing market, according to CMHC.

“The standalone monthly SAAR was 212,594 units in February, up from 165,071 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 30.9 per cent in February to 200,231 units,” CMHC said in a release. “Multiple urban starts increased by 46.0 per cent to 138,774 units in February and the single-detached urban starts increased by 6.1 per cent to 61,457 units.”

The SAAR posted its biggest one-month gain since 1983 due, in large part, to condo starts.

According to Bloomberg, the 29% jump to 212,594 units exceeded all 14 Bloomberg News economist survey predictions.

Urban starts increased in February in BC, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic provinces. They decreased in the Prairies.