Atlantic Housing Outlook Will Remain Weak



    HALIFAX, Aug. 15 /CNW/ - According to Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation's (CMHC) latest outlook, housing starts in Atlantic Canada will
show a moderate decline in 2008. Although an increase in singles activity
during the first half of the year has provided the backdrop for a small
improvement in the current forecast, an anticipated pick-up in multiple starts
is being held back by a lack of apartment starts in 2008. The strongest level
of growth in overall activity for 2008 will occur in Newfoundland and
Labrador.
    The price of existing homes continues to rise, with prices already up
close to seven per cent so far in 2008. "However, the current increase in
inventory should limit any further upside to prices for the remainder of the
year," said Alex MacDonald, Regional Economist, with CMHC's Atlantic Business
Centre.
    For 2008, sales activity is expected to decline close to six per cent
across the region, except in Newfoundland and Labrador, where sales should
rise close to six per cent. The overall level of sales activity continues to
be supported by an improving outlook for migration to the region and positive
employment growth. There is some risk to the forecast though, as consumer
confidence has recently declined and income growth is not expected to be as
strong in 2008.
    The expectation for 2008 is that consumers will be more reluctant to
spend, as higher energy prices constrain consumer pocketbooks. The high
Canadian dollar and rising energy prices are also affecting the
competitiveness of sectors that rely on exporting, including forestry,
fisheries, travel and tourism.

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national
housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians
access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant,
healthy communities and cities a reality across the country. For more
information, visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca or call 1 800 668-2642.

    
                       Atlantic Housing Market Outlook
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Housing Starts                2007            2008            2009
                                       Actual        Forecast        Forecast
                                    -----------------------------------------
      New Brunswick                    4,242           4,200           3,875
        Saint John CMA                   687             780             740
        Moncton CMA                    1,425           1,480           1,360
        Fredericton CA                   636             700             620
      Nova Scotia                      4,750           4,475           4,200
        Halifax CMA                    2,489           2,475           2,450
      Prince Edward Island               750             700             650
        Charlottetown CA                 394             375             350
      Newfoundland and Labrador        2,649           2,825           2,825
        St John's CMA                  1,480           1,725           1,750
      Atlantic Region Total           12,391          12,200          11,550
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       Atlantic Housing Market Outlook
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total MLS(R) Sales(1)               2007            2008            2009
                                       Actual        Forecast        Forecast
                                    -----------------------------------------
      New Brunswick                    8,161           7,500           7,000
        Saint John CMA                 2,253           2,150           2,000
        Moncton CMA                    2,849           2,750           2,600
        Fredericton CA                 2,448           2,250           2,125
      Nova Scotia                     11,857          11,100          10,500
        Halifax CMA                    6,938           6,400           6,000
      Prince Edward Island             1,769           1,400           1,300
        Charlottetown CA                 650             500             500
      Newfoundland and Labrador        4,471           4,750           4,500
        St John's CMA                  4,471           4,750           4,500
      Atlantic Region Total           26,258          24,750          23,300
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       Atlantic Housing Market Outlook
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Average  MLS(R) Price ($)(1)       2007           2008             2009
                                      Actual        Forecast        Forecast
                                    -----------------------------------------
      New Brunswick                 $136,603        $143,000        $146,000
        Saint John CMA              $140,544        $155,000        $163,000
        Moncton CMA                 $140,032        $147,000        $151,500
        Fredericton CA              $141,117        $151,500        $158,000
      Nova Scotia                   $180,989        $190,000        $194,500
        Halifax CMA                 $215,018        $228,000        $233,000
      Prince Edward Island          $133,457        $138,000        $140,000
        Charlottetown CA            $166,244        $173,000        $175,000
     Newfoundland and Labrador      $149,258        $171,500        $182,500
        St John's CMA               $149,258        $171,500        $182,500
      Atlantic Region Total         $158,589        $169,266        $174,571
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    

SOURCE: CMHC Housing Market Outlook, Atlantic Highlights, Third Quarter 2008. (1) The term MLS(R) stands for Multiple Listing Service and is a registered trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

For further information:

For further information: Alex P. MacDonald, Regional Economist CMHC,
(902) 426-8964, amacdona@cmhc-schl.gc.ca; The Housing Market Outlook, Atlantic
Region Highlights report is available on the CMHC Web site:
http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca


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