Monday, March 09, 2009

Canadian Housing Has Been Exceptionally Strong for Past Seven Years

134,600 Housing Units
Started in February

OTTAWA, March 9, 2009
— The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts declined to 134,600 units in February from 153,500 units in January, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Increased listings and reduced sales in the existing home market continue to impact the new home market,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “The decrease in February housing starts is partly attributable to the volatile multiple starts segment. In any given month and given its relative importance, the volatility of the multiple starts segment can exaggerate monthly movements up or down in the rate of housing starts.”

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased 14.9 per cent to 107,800 units in February. Urban multiple starts decreased 17.5 per cent to 63,300 units, while urban single starts fell 11 per cent to 44,500 units in February.

February’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts moderated in all of Canada’s regions except Atlantic Canada, where urban starts increased by 10.8 per cent. Urban starts fell by 19.6 per cent in Quebec, 14.4 per cent in Ontario, 19.4 per cent in the Prairies, and 12.8 per cent in British Columbia.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 26,800 units in February.

New home construction is slowing to more sustainable levels and starts are forecast to come in at 160,250 units, within a range of 141,000 to 180,000 units in 2009. These trends are reflected in the year-to-date actual starts. These decreases, however, should be viewed in the context that housing starts have been exceptionally strong over the past 7 years, exceeding 200,000 units per year.


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