* Biggest decline in growth seen in Atlantic Canada, Ontario
* Overall decline was as expected by analysts
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, May 8 Canadian housing starts slipped
in April from March, led in part by a pullback in Ontario
condo-building, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said on
Wednesday, in the latest report to indicate the country's once
hot housing market is cooling.
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts
was 174,858 units in April, down from 181,146 in March. The
March figure was revised down from the 184,028 units reported a
The number of starts in April was in line with the average
expectation of analysts polled by Reuters.
"Canadian homebuilders are facing the new reality that the
decade-long housing boom has ended, and are retrenching in
orderly fashion," BMO Capital Market senior economist Sal
Guatieri wrote in a note.
MORTGAGE RULE CHANGES BITE
The six-month trend level in housing starts was 182,754,
continuing a downward slope that began in the middle of 2012,
when Canada's red-hot housing market peaked.
The slowdown began after Canada's Conservative government,
concerned by warnings a bubble could be building in the property
sector, tightened mortgage lending rules in July 2012.
Those changes, the fourth such move in four years, shortened
the maximum length of a government-insured mortgage, making it
harder for Canadians to get into an increasingly expensive real
"As expected, the trend in total housing starts continued to
moderate in April," CMHC's deputy chief economist, Mathieu
Laberge, said in a statement. "Recent moderation in total
housing starts has been led by the multiple starts segment,
particularly in Ontario."
The national multiple starts segment, which includes condos,
declined by 3.5 percent, while overall urban starts in Ontario
fell almost 15 percent and plunged 40.8 percent in Atlantic
Single urban starts were relatively unchanged, while rural
starts were estimated at 21,330 units.
The strongest urban growth was in Quebec, which jumped 14.8
percent, and the Prairie provinces, which gained 9.3 percent.
"In light of reduced home construction activity taking place
in tandem with the softening resale housing market, the broader
housing sector is not expected to provide much support to
economic growth in 2013," TD Economics wrote in a note.