Housing Starts Fall in Signal Market Is Easing toward Soft Landing

By Beltrame, Julian | The Canadian Press, December 9, 2013 | Go to article overview

Housing Starts Fall in Signal Market Is Easing toward Soft Landing


Beltrame, Julian, The Canadian Press


Housing starts fall in November: CMHC

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OTTAWA - Canada's much-scrutinized housing market showed signs of softening last month, with starts falling a little further than expected but still to levels many analysts consider too strong to sustain.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Monday housing starts declined to an annualized rate of 192,235 in November, three per cent lower than October's result and about 3,000 fewer than economists expected.

Most of the weakness was concentrated in Ontario, which saw a drop of 16.6 per cent, and in Atlantic Canada, where starts fell by a whopping 24.8 per cent. But condo building in British Columbia drove starts there up 12.5 per cent and the Prairies and Quebec saw gains of 9.1 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.

The Bank of Canada and the federal government have long fretted over housing in Canada, fearing that if it continues to rise above potential it will result in a sudden and damaging crash once interest rates start rising, triggering an overall economic slowdown.

Analysts say the ideal situation is for the market to slowly decline, but not crash and burn.

"It's a step in the right direction but not aggressive enough -- we need the number to go to about 180,000 (annualized)," said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC World Markets.

"But this is not a housing market that is melting," he added. "People who expected to see a crash and smoke will be disappointed."

Economists believe starts should average about 175,000-180,000 annually in order to absorb demographic growth in Canada.

Still, housing is moving in the right direction, analysts said. …

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