Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Canadian Housing Starts still high -- November 2007

Canadian Housing Starts Steady

New housing construction showed no signs of letting up in November. Housing starts, at an annualized rate of 227,900, were virtually unchanged from October and roughly in line with both market expectations and the pace in the last 12 months. Activity on the single-detached side bounced to its strongest level since March 2006, more than retracing some softness in October. The multi-units side continued to digest a 29-year-high spike in September and fell for the second straight month.

On a provincial basis, activity cooled in six provinces in November with the biggest declines in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. Hefty gains in Ontario and B.C., however, heated things just enough to keep the overall temperature steady. In recent months, momentum has shifted from Alberta to B.C. as Western Canada's housing construction hotspot. In Central Canada, Ontario has regained leadership (notwithstanding a multi-unit surge in September), while Newfoundland & Labrador is the key engine in Atlantic Canada.

The Bottom Line: Despite earlier concerns about the potential impact of the financial market storm on Canadian housing demand, home building remains a pillar of strength in the Canadian economy. With strong job creation and favourable interest rates still providing support, residential construction is carrying good momentum into 2008.

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A. Mark Argentino
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