Housing Starts Miss Forecasts for 3rd Straight Month in Canada

(Bloomberg) --

Canadian housing starts declined in the final month of 2019, led lower by multiple-unit construction.

Builders began work on an annualized 197,300 units in December, down 3.4% from a revised 204,300 in the prior month, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in a statement Thursday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had anticipated starts would be 210,500 in the month.

It’s the third-straight month starts have missed forecasts, suggesting the robust pace of construction earlier this year may be slowing. Still, a strong showing in the oil-producing province Alberta helped to counter declines in other areas.

Declines were “primarily led by lower-trending multi-family starts in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa,” Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, said in the statement. “However, the stable starts at year-end in Vancouver and significant growth in Calgary helped to partially offset the declines in other major centres.”

Ontario and Quebec led declines, falling 12% and 17% respectively, including double-digit declines in Canada’s largest cities of Toronto and Montreal. Alberta starts jumped 48% on the month while British Columbia declined 11%.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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