The Canadian trend in housing starts was down slightly in February. 

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the trend in housing starts was 251,579 in February, down from 253,864 units in January. 

This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. According to the CMHC, it uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for dramatic swings in monthly estimates and to gain a clearer picture for upcoming new housing supply. 

In a press release, the organization says that analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading because the multi-unit segment significantly drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next. 

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"On a trend and monthly SAAR basis, the level of housing starts activity in Canada remains historically high; however, the six-month trend in housing starts declined slightly from January to February," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's Chief Economist. "For SAAR housing starts in Canada's urban areas, both single-detached and multi-unit starts increased in February. Among Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Toronto was the only market to post growth in total SAAR starts in February, due to higher single-detached and multi-unit starts."

As CMHC reports, the standalone monthly SAAR of total starts for all areas in Canada in February was 247,256 units. That marks an increase of 8% from 299,185 units in January. The SAAR of total urban starts increased by 10% to 222,563 units in February. 

Multi-unit urban starts increased by 13% to 161,912 units, while single-detached urban starts increased by 2% to 60,651 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 24,693 units.

In other supply-related CMHC news, the organization just launched a new multi-unit mortgage product to help increase housing throughout the county. In Ontario's housing market, Premier Doug Ford recently said he was looking to reduce the amount of red tape surrounding development applications "as quickly as possible" in the province in an attempt to produce more much-needed supply.

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