Canada housing starts higher than expected.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says March was a stronger month for housing starts in most parts of the country. CMHC’s seasonally adjusted rate was 189,708 units last month, up from 151,238 in February. According to the Financial Post, most of the growth came from multiple-unit dwellings, especially in urban areas. Starts of multiple-unit dwellings such as condos and apartments was up 48.2 per cent, rising to 125,263 units on an annualized basis March. Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and the Prairies saw increases in urban housing construction, while the Atlantic region had a decline. CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said the month-to-month comparison is only part of the story and the trend has moved lower since September “partly reflecting efforts to manage the level of completed but unsold units.”
Oliver: No action needed on housing market
Finance Minister Joe Oliver got the bad news on the economy as he met with private sector economists to discuss Canada’s outlook in advance of the April 21 budget, according to an article in the Toronto Star. Oliver said the government has no intention at the moment of moving to cool off the red-hot housing market. “We are closely monitoring the residential real estate market,” he said. “We’ll take action if necessary.” When asked about the move from a Toronto credit union that offered what may be the lowest mortgage rate ever — 1.49 per cent, Oliver said, “We understand and are watching the fact that consumer debt is high,” Oliver said. But he also pointed out that the credit picture has improved and “default rates are very low.”