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Canadian Housing Starts Gather Pace in February: CMHC

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Canadian Housing Starts Gather Pace in February: CMHC

Canadian housing starts rebounded strongly in February, after inclement weather weighed on construction activity at the start of the year.

Housing starts increased in February to a seasonally adjusted pace of 192,100, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported today. Housing starts in January were upwardly revised to 180,481.

Urban starts in February increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.5 percent, CMHC data showed. Regionally, urban starts rose in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, stabilized in Ontario and decreased in the western provinces. Rural starts, meanwhile, increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,500 units.

The six-month moving average for housing starts stood at 192,200.

“The trend in housing starts remained stable in February for the seventh consecutive month,” wrote CMHC deputy chief economist Mathieu Laberge in a press release. “Since August 2013, the trend has essentially remained in the 185,000 to 195,000 range, with month-to-month variations generally of two per cent or less. This is in line with CMHC’s outlook calling for a stable housing market in 2014.”

February marked the first time the rate of housing starts increased since October 2013. However, the increase wasn’t enough to sway economists’ forecast for the Canadian housing market. Demand for housing is expected to soften in 2014, as rising borrowing costs and modest economic growth keep would-be buyers out of the market. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has already forecast a “soft landing” for the housing sector, reinforcing the view construction activity will edge lower throughout the course of the year.

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