By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO Feb 8 Canadian housing starts plunged
in January as both single and multiple starts fell, particularly
in Ontario, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said on Friday in a
report that showed the housing market was weakening even faster
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts
was 160,577 units in January, down from 197,118 in December and
the lowest monthly rate since July 2009 when the housing market
was sideswiped by the global financial crisis.
The December figure was revised down from the 197,976 units
The number of starts in January was well below the forecasts
of analysts in a Reuters poll, who had expected 195,000 starts.
Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency
strategy at RBC, said the monthly series tends to be volatile.
"It was almost all concentrated in the multiples category.
So as a result of that, we'll wait and see on that front. It is
consistent with the slowing you saw in the existing home sale
market, though," Chandler said.
The CMHC said it was preferable to focus on the six-month
moving average of housing starts, which were trending at 203,208
units in January.
"The trend in total housing starts has been moderating since
September 2012 and in existing home sales since May 2012. Trends
in the two market segments typically follow a similar pattern
with the new home market lagging behind the existing home market
by a few months," CMHC Deputy Chief Economist Mathieu Laberge
said in a statement.
"The current trend is also in line with CMHC's housing
market outlook, which calls for moderation in housing starts
activity in 2013."
Urban starts decreased by 22.3 percent in January to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 138,134 units, the report
showed. Single urban starts fell 11.2 percent to 59,318 units
and multiple urban starts decreased by 28.9 percent to 78,816
By region, Ontario and Quebec had the most dramatic drop.
Urban starts fell 43.9 percent in Ontario, 29.6 percent in
Quebec and 5.9 percent in the Prairies, while urban starts
increased 59.4 percent in Atlantic Canada and 7.7 percent in