Canada - Housing Starts

Canada: Housing Starts

Mnemonic HST.ICAN
Unit Ths. #, SAAR
Adjustments Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rate
Monthly 5.47 %
Data Dec 2022 248.62
Nov 2022 263.02

Series Information

Source Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Release Housing Starts
Frequency Monthly
Start Date 1/31/1990
End Date 12/31/2022

Canada: Real Estate

Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Building Completions 2022 Q4 56,690 58,114 #, NSA Quarterly
Building Permits Dec 2022 10,287,408 11,093,338 Ths. CAD, SA Monthly
House Price Index Dec 2022 125.85 125.49 Index Dec2016=100, SA Monthly
House Price Index for New Homes Dec 2022 125.5 125.5 Index Dec2016=100, NSA Monthly
House Price Value for Existing Homes Dec 2022 294.86 298.21 Index Jun 2005=100, NSA Monthly
Housing Starts Dec 2022 248.62 263.02 Ths. #, SAAR Monthly
Residential Building Permits Dec 2022 19,346 21,754 #, SA Monthly
Dwelling Stocks 2021 16,284,235 # Annual

Release Information

For Canada, the Starts and Completions Survey is carried out monthly in urban areas with populations in excess of 50,000 as defined by the 2006 Census. In urban areas with populations of 10,000 to 49,999, all Starts are enumerated in the last month of each quarter (i.e. four times a year, in March, June, September and December). In these centers with quarterly enumeration, Completion activity is modelled based on historical patterns. Monthly Starts and Completion activity in these quarterly locations are statistically estimated at a provincial level for single and multi-categories. Centers with populations below 10,000 are enumerated on a sample basis, also in the last month of each quarter (i.e. in March, June, September and December).

The Market Absorption Survey is carried out in conjunction with the Starts and Completions Survey in urban areas with populations in excess of 50,000. When a structure is recorded as completed, a report is also made as to whether or not a unit has been sold. The dwellings are then enumerated each month until such time as absorption occurs.

  • Measurement:
  • Adjustment:
  • Native frequency:
  • Start date:
  • Geo coverage:

Concepts and Definitions

A “start” for the purposes of the Starts and Completions Survey, is defined as the beginning of construction work on a building, usually when the concrete has been poured for the whole of the footing around the structure, or an equivalent stage where a basement will not be part of the structure.

A “completion” is defined as the stage at which all proposed construction work on the building has been performed, although under some circumstances a building may be counted as completed where up to 10 percent of the proposed work remains to be done.

For multiple-dwelling structures, the definition of a Start or a Completion applies to the structure rather than to the individual dwelling units therein.

The number of units “under construction” as at the end of the period shown, takes into account certain adjustments which are necessary for various reasons. For example, after a start on a dwelling has commenced construction may cease, or a structure when completed may contain more or fewer dwelling units than were reported at start.

A dwelling is defined as being “absorbed” when a binding, non-conditional agreement is made to buy the dwelling.

Only new self-contained dwelling units are enumerated in the Starts and Completions Survey, such units being designed for non-transient and year-round occupancy.

Conversions and/or alterations within an existing structure are excluded from the surveys as are seasonal dwellings, such as: summer cottages, hunting and ski cabins, trailers and boat houses; and hostel accommodation, such as: hospitals, nursing homes, penal institutions, convents, monasteries, military and industrial camps, and collective types of accommodation such as: hotels, clubs, and lodging homes.

Mobile Homes are included in the surveys. A mobile home is a type of manufactured house that is completely assembled in a factory, then moved to a foundation before it is occupied.

Trailers or any other movable dwelling (the larger often referred to as a mobile home) with no permanent foundation are excluded from the surveys.

Market housing is defined as housing that is marketed to the general public for sale or rent.

A “dwelling unit” is defined as a structurally separate set of living premises with a private entrance either outside the building or from a common hall, lobby, vestibule or stairway inside the building. The entrance must be one that can be used without passing through anyone else’s living quarters.

Type of dwelling

The definitions of types of dwellings, used in the Surveys, are in accordance with those in the Census.

A “single-detached” dwelling is a building containing only one dwelling unit, which is completely separated on all sides from any other dwelling or structure.

A “semi-detached” dwelling is one of two dwellings located side-by-side in a building, adjoining no other structure and separated by a common or party wall extending from ground to roof.

A “row” dwelling is a ground-oriented dwelling attached to two or more similar units so that the resulting row structure contains three or more units.

An “apartment and other” dwelling includes all dwellings other than those described above, including structures commonly referred to as duplexes, triplexes, double duplexes and row duplexes.

A "multiple" in the seasonally adjusted annualized rate dataset is defined as a sum of semi-detached, row, and apartment and other.

Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rate

Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rate (SAAR) is the result of adjusting monthly or quarterly statistics to provide an indication of the annual total which would be achieved if activity in all other months or quarters were at the same level of performance relative to past seasonal patterns.

Definitions of Census Areas referred to in this Publication are as follows:

Census metropolitan area (CMA) and census agglomeration (CA) - 2006 Census

The general concept of these standard units is one of an urban core, and the adjacent urban and rural areas that have a high degree of social and economic integration with that urban core, as measured by commuting flows derived from Census of Population data on place of work.

Census metropolitan area (CMA)

To form a census metropolitan area (CMA), the urban core must have a population of at least 50,000 and the area (CMA) must have a population of at least 100,000. Once an area becomes a CMA, it is retained as a CMA even if the population of its urban core declines below 50,000.

Census agglomeration (CA)

To form a census agglomeration (CA), the urban core must have a population of at least 10,000. If the population of the urban core of a CA declines below 10,000, the CA is retired.

As of March 2003, CAs are no longer required to have an urban core population count of 100,000 to be promoted to the status of a CMA. Instead, CAs will assume the status of a CMA if they have attained a total population of at least 100,000 and an urban core of 50,000 or more.

Census subdivision (CSD) - 2006 Census

Census subdivision is a general term for municipalities as determined by provincial or territorial legislation, or areas treated as municipal equivalents for statistical purposes. Municipalities are units of local government.

Yes. Expect revisions with each update to the series.

Single completions (HSQCMPDT1UM.?) exceeds total completions (HSQCMPTTUM.?) for a number of geographies for August 1988. Our data matches the source. We have contacted the source regarding this discrepancy and are awaiting a response.


Distributed under license from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): usage subject to an End User License.

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  1. You shall include the following notice on all reproductions of the Information:
    Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), name of product or information, reference date. This information is reproduced and distributed on an “as is” basis with the permission of CMHC.
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    Adapted from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, name of product or information, reference date. This does not constitute an endorsement by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation of this product.
    or any other notice approved in advance in writing by CMHC.