Housing starts in the St. Catharines-Niagara Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending lower at 1,582 units in February compared to 1,627 in January, 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.
“The trend in new home starts in February 2015 decreased from the previous month,” said Edgard Navarrete, CMHC’s market analyst for St. Catharines-Niagara. “Employment and wage growth remained supportive of new housing demand. However, the severe weather conditions in February made it difficult for builders to pour foundations pulling total starts down. Ground-oriented housing remained popular and most of the housing starts that did occur were single-detached homes.”
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 multiples segment includes apartments, rows and semi-detached homes.
The SAAR of total housing starts was 840 in February, down from 1,822 in January. Declines in starts of most dwelling types contributed to the drop. In particular, apartment starts are not frequent in St. Catharines-Niagara. A number of apartments got underway in January, but none were started in February.