After months of increased activity, the annual pace of housing starts slowed in February compared to January, according to the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The national housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts for February fell 13.5% to 245,922 units compared to 284,372 in the month before.

“The national trend in housing starts declined in February, but remained elevated,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist.

“Single-detached SAAR starts declined in February following strong growth in January, particularly in Montreal. Multi-family SAAR starts also declined in several centres in February, further contributing to the decline in the overall trend.”

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The decline in housing starts came as the annual pace of urban starts fell 14% in February to 231,042 units as the pace of starts of apartments, condos, and other types of multiple-unit housing projects fell 15.8% to 163,757.

The annual pace of urban starts of single-detached homes fell 9.3% to 67,285.

CMHC also reported that rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,880 units.

February housing starts decline canada en

According to CMHC, the six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts was 242,777 in February, down from 244,963 in January.

The trend in housing starts was 242,777 units in February 2021, down from 244,963 units in January 2021.

On a more local level, CMHC said housing starts for single-detached homes in Ontario reached 1,560 in February, up 44% year-over-year, from 1,083. While in Toronto, starts for single-detached homes were 456 in February, a 98% increase from the year prior when 230 starts were recorded.

When Seasonally Adjusted at Annual Rates (SAAR), CMHC said Ontario had 28,397 starts for single-detached homes last month, a 13% increase from the same time a year prior when 25,025 starts were recorded. In Toronto, the SAAR for starts was 10,622 in February, a 74% rise from a year prior when 10,622 starts were recorded.