Housing Starts down across Canada and Thunder Bay

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Arctic Cold and Winter Storms are hammering Ontario and the US Eastern Seaboard.
Arctic Cold and Winter Storms are hammering Ontario and the US Eastern Seaboard.

Housing StartsTORONTO – Winter weather in Thunder Bay has impacted the housing construction market. Bitterly cold weather and snow storms have reduced the number of housing starts in the city.

Housing starts in Canada were trending at 184,476 units in March compared to 191,126 in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

“In March, the trend in housing starts declined below 190,000 units for the first time in six months, reflecting a decrease in multiple unit starts. Lower starts activity over the remainder of the year compared to 2013 is anticipated as builders continue to adjust activity in order to manage inventory levels,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC.

Thunder Bay saw full evidence of the bitter cold winter in decreased housing starts. “Seasonally adjusted housing starts in Thunder Bay saw another decline in March. Although demand for housing continues to be healthy, it was not a surprise to see weak first quarter starts activity given the exceptionally cold winter. Since 1980, Thunder Bay has seen five months of March without new construction, keeping the 10-year average for the month at 2.7 units,” stated Warren Philp, CMHC’s Market Analyst for Thunder Bay.

Housing starts in Thunder Bay, Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending at 117 units in March down from 256 units in February according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

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 analyzing 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 156,823 units in March, a decrease from 190,639 in February. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 18.8 per cent in March to 142,502 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 25.5 per cent to 87,372 units in March while the single-detached urban starts segment decreased by 5.4 per cent to 55,130 units.

In March, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in British Columbia and the Prairies, and decreased in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec.

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