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Canadian housing market turns corner

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A three-month slump in Canadian housing starts has ended

The seasonally-adjusted, annualised rate of residential project starts hit 192,094 in February, according to data form national agency the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

This was a six per cent increase on the previous month’s figures as a sharp rise in urban home building, especially in the east, brought relief to the ailing industry.

Housing starts had been decreasing steadily since breaking the 200,000 barrier in October.

But urban dwelling starts in the province of Quebec, which contains Quebec City and Montreal, soared by an astonishing 67 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annualised rate of 46,330 in February.

A similar rise was seen in the Atlantic region but on a much smaller scale, with starts up 68 per cent to 8,104.

Elsewhere, urban starts were up marginally in Ontario and down in the Prairies and British Columbia. Rural dwelling projects were also down slightly across Canada.

But Quebec’s urban housing explosion dragged Canada’s closely-watched trend figure – a moving average of the past six months’ figures – up to 192,236 in February.

CMHC deputy chief economist Mathieu Laberge said: ‘The trend in housing starts remained stable in February for the seventh consecutive month.

‘Since August 2013, the trend has essentially remained in the 185,000 to 195,000 range, with month-to-month variations generally of two per cent or less.’

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