Hous­ing starts picked up for the month of Oc­to­ber

The Hamilton Spectator - - Business -

OT­TAWA — An in­crease in mul­tiu­nit projects such as con­do­mini­ums, apart­ments and town­houses helped push the an­nual pace of hous­ing starts in Oc­to­ber higher, Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Corp. said Thurs­day.

The hous­ing agency said the sea­son­ally ad­justed an­nual rate of hous­ing starts last month came in at 205,925 units, up from 189,730 in Septem­ber.

Economists had ex­pected an an­nual rate of 200,000, ac­cord­ing to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

CMHC said the six-month mov­ing av­er­age of the monthly sea­son­ally ad­justed an­nual rates was 206,171 in Oc­to­ber, down from 207,809 in Septem­ber.

BMO Cap­i­tal Mar­kets se­nior econ­o­mist Sal Gu­atieri said the hous­ing mar­ket con­tin­ues to sta­bi­lize af­ter get­ting dinged by tougher mort­gage rules ear­lier this year, and re­mains healthy de­spite higher in­ter­est rates.

“The re­port con­firms that na­tional hous­ing con­struc­tion, though slow­ing, re­mains healthy and above long-run house­hold for­ma­tion rates, sup­ported by solid de­mo­graphic trends,” Gu­atieri wrote in a brief re­port. How­ever, CIBC econ­o­mist Royce Men­des noted the growth was due to the mul­ti­ples com­po­nent, say­ing: “The fact that head­line starts rose on the month is still a pos­i­tive for track­ing es­ti­mates of the econ­omy. But given that it came on the back of an in­crease in mul­ti­ples cou­pled with a drop in sin­gles, means that the lat­est read­ing on starts may not prove sus­tain­able. We still see the cock­tail of tighter lend­ing rules and higher in­ter­est rates as caus­ing hous­ing ac­tiv­ity to be­come a drag on the econ­omy come 2019.”

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