CMHC says pace of housing starts slowed in September as multi unit starts slipped

OTTAWA _ The pace of housing starts in Canada slowed in September compared with August, but stayed over 200,000 for the fourth month in a row.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Tuesday the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts slipped to 217,118 units in September, down from 225,918 units in August.

The pace of multi-unit urban starts _ condos, apartment buildings and the like _ dropped 10.7 per cent to 131,388. That more than offset an increase in single-detached urban starts, which climbed 8.2 per cent, to 67,522. Overall annualized urban starts fell 5.1 per cent in September to 198,910.

Bank of Montreal senior economist Robert Kavcic said investment in residential construction seems grown again in the third quarter, after declining modestly in the second quarter.

“Canadian homebuilding activity remains robust, with the best population growth in 25 years proving fundamental support,” Kavcic wrote in a report.

CMHC’s trend measure, the six-month moving average of the overall monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts, slipped to 214,821 in September compared with 220,573 in August.

In the Toronto region, CMHC said the pace of housing starts trended lower by seven per cent in September compared with August, led by a drop in apartment starts.

Meanwhile, Vancouver also trended lower as fewer multi-family home projects started work. CMHC said a record number of units under construction in the region have left little spare capacity to start additional projects.

The annual pace of rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,208.

Statistics Canada also reported Tuesday that Canadian municipalities issued $7.5 billion worth of building permits in August, down 5.5 per cent from July.

Residential permits slipped 2.8 per cent to nearly $4.9 billion, while non-residential permits fell 10 per cent to roughly $2.7 billion.