Starts & Completions Survey Methodology

The Starts and Completions Survey is conducted by way of site visits which are used to confirm that new units have reached set stages in the construction process. Since most municipalities in the country issue building permits, these are used as an indication of where construction is likely to take place. In areas where there are no permits, reliance has to be placed either on local sources or searching procedures.

The Starts and Completions Survey is carried out monthly in urban areas with populations in excess of 50,000 as defined by the latest 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 centres, completion activity is modeled based on historical patterns.

Monthly Starts and Completion activity in quarterly locations are statistically estimated at a provincial level for single and multi categories. Centres 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, but is only conducted in urban areas with populations in excess of 50,000 and only for structures which are destined for the homeownership/condominium market. When a structure is recorded as completed, an update is also made as units are sold. The dwellings are then enumerated each month until such time as full absorption occurs. Sales prices are collected whenever possible. Builder-occupied units are marked as sold at completion and are no price is collected. Prices are only published when they would not result in the determination of individual responses provided.

The Starts and Completions Survey enumerates dwelling units in new structures only, designed for non-transient and year-round occupancy.

Dwelling Type Definitions:

A “Single-Detached” dwelling (also referred to as “Single”) is a building containing only one dwelling unit, which is completely separated on all sides from any other dwelling or structure. Includes link homes, where two units may share a common basement wall but are separated above grade. Also includes cluster-single developments.

A “Semi-Detached (Double)” dwelling (also referred to as “Semi”) 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 (Townhouse)” dwelling is a one family dwelling unit in a row of three or more attached dwellings separated by a common or party wall extending from ground to roof.

The term “Apartment and other” includes all dwellings other than those described above, including structures commonly known as stacked townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, double duplexes and row duplexes.

Mobile homes are included in the surveys, where a mobile home is typically defined as a type of manufactured house that is completely assembled in a factory and 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 survey.

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 accommodations, 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.

Intended Market Definitions:

The “intended market” is the tenure in which the unit is being marketed. This includes the following categories:

A Freehold unit is a residence where the owner owns the dwelling and lot outright.

A Condominium (including Strata-Titled) is an individual dwelling unit which is privately owned, but where the building and/or the land are collectively owned by all dwelling unit owners. A condominium is a form of ownership rather than a type of house.

A Rental unit is a dwelling constructed for rental purposes, regardless of who finances the structure.

Other Definitions:

Dwelling Unit

For purposes of the Starts and Completions Survey, a Dwelling Unit is defined as a structurally separate set of self-contained living premises with a private entrance from outside the building or from a common hall, lobby, or stairway inside the building. Such an entrance must be one that can be used without passing through another separate dwelling unit.


For purposes of the Starts and Completions Survey, a Start 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.

Under Construction

Under Construction refers to the number of units under construction at the end of the period shown, and 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.


For purposes of the Starts and Completions Survey, a Completion is defined as the stage at which all the proposed construction work on a dwelling unit has been performed, although under some circumstances a dwelling may be counted as completed where up to 10 per cent of the proposed work remains to be done.


An absorbed unit is a housing unit that has been sold and completed. A unit is considered sold when a binding contract is secured by a non-refundable deposit and has been signed by a qualified purchaser. The purpose of the Market Absorption Survey is to measure the rate at which units are sold after they are completed, as well as collect prices.

Choose your location of interest — Help

CMHC’s housing market data is available for multiple levels of geographic aggregation, from national to neighbourhood.

Choose from the pop-up list provided to select your location of interest.

Close this box.
Add this location to your Compare list.
Zoom to and select your location of interest.
Change submarket boundary — Help
Click and drag the top of this box to move it anywhere on your screen.
Options that appear in light grey indicate that they are not available for your current location of interest.

Within a given city, town, or metropolitan area, CMHC provides statistical reporting for a variety of submarkets.

Alter the boundary lines and definitions for your location of interest by changing your submarket boundary display setting.

Housing Market Information Portal

This portal offers free, easy-to-use access to the latest housing market data for Canada.

**Please accept the terms and conditions to proceed.**

Terms and Conditions

CMHC makes considerable effort to ensure that the information and analysis on this site is reliable, but cannot guarantee that it is accurate or complete. The content of the site is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice when making significant financial decisions. You understand and agree that your use of the information available on the Housing Market Information Portal will be governed by, and, you will be bound by, the CMHC Licence Agreement for the Use of Data, and in particular, you agree that you may not hold CMHC liable for any consequences that arise if you choose to rely on this information and analysis to make a financial decision.