December 2013 Housing Starts in Toronto


Housing starts in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending at 35,519 units in December compared to 35,895 in November 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 trend in housing starts in Toronto was stable in December, while at a level somewhat higher than the lows which occurred mid-year. Mortgage rates and employment were relatively unchanged over the past two months, contributing to the stabilization of housing demand,” said Ed Heese, CMHC’s Toronto Senior Market Analyst.

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.

The standalone monthly SAAR was 32,199 units in December, down from 36,786 in November, mainly due to fewer semi-detached and town homes being started in the month of December 2013. On a year-to-date basis housing starts were down, with low-rise starts in line with last year and fewer apartment starts leading the overall decline. Apartment starts were unusually high in 2012 but have stabilized in 2013 at a more sustainable level.

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

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. 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.

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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.