Housing Starts fall for fourth straight month

CMHC reported Wednesday that housing starts in December dropped to 197,976 units seasonally adjusted at annual rates, falling from 201,376 the previous month.

The report revealed starts were down for the fourth consecutive month.

CMHC Deputy Chief Economist Mathieu Laberge notes that the findings were not unexpected given market conditions, as well as shift in where Canadians are buying.

“As expected, housing starts remained below their recent trend in Canada,” he said. “The decrease recorded in December was due to a decline in rural starts, while urban starts remained stable. Housing starts were below their trends in all regions except Ontario.”

That province saw a boost of 33.4 per cent.

Rural starts at SAAR were estimated at 19,106 units in December, while the number of urban starts remained relatively unchanged.

Dropping just 0.1 per cent, urban starts were recorded at 178,870.

With starts down in most urban markets, will 2013 be the year investors start to seriously consider rural prospects? Or perhaps turn to the resale market? Fewer newer houses may leave those investors hoping for new builds out in the cold, as the CMHC forecasts the new home market will moderate in 2013 with just 193,600 units planned for the year.

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