Pre-sales bump up Toronto housing starts

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Buoyant pre-sales activity for multi-unit projects primarily in the Greater Toronto Area lifted housing start numbers to 222,900 units for the whole of Canada last month but “moderation” is still expected for the remainder of 2013 and the next year, according to CMHC.

“The increase in housing starts in August was the result of a few, large, multi-unit projects in the Greater Toronto Area.” said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC’s market analysis centre. “This increase is primarily a reflection of the high level of pre-sales in some of these large multi-unit projects in late 2010 and early 2011, which is in line with the job gains at that time.”

Earlier, Genworth and the Conference Board of Canada also reported a rosy forecast in 2013 for the condo market, saying projected market correction will be “relatively mild.”

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 10.2 per cent to 205,900 units in August, according to CMHC. Urban single starts remained relatively unchanged in August at 64,300 units, while multiple urban starts increased by 15.5 per cent to 141,600 units.

August’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 47.5 per cent in Atlantic Canada, by 20.4 per cent in Ontario, by 18.2 per cent in British Columbia and by 1.3 per cent in the Prairies.

Urban starts decreased by 9.8 per cent in Québec. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19,000 units in August.

However, the higher level of starts recorded for Atlantic Canada and B.C. in August, reflect low level of activity for the previous month rather than an increasing trend for August, according to Laberge. “Overall, moderation in housing starts activity is still expected for the remainder of 2012 and 2013,” he said.


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