Quebec Housing Starts Down in August



    MONTREAL, Sept. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the latest monthly starts
survey conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC),
residential construction was down this past month in centres with 10,000 or
more inhabitants across Quebec. In total, 2,869 housing units were started in
August. This latest total represents a 11 per cent drop compared to the same
month a year ago. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate was down by
9 per cent compared to the month of July. August's result brings year-to-date
housing starts to 26,413, up by 1 per cent compared to the first 8 months of
2007. "The year-to-date total is perfectly in line with the forecast we
published a year ago. We were expecting a slower pace of housing starts,
however the recent economic and demographic did not warrant a significant
drop" stated Kevin Hughes, Regional Economist at CMHC.
    With the exception of the Gatineau and Trois-Rivières regions, all census
metropolitan areas (CMA) recorded a drop in housing starts in August. From a
cumulative, year-to-date, standpoint, housing starts in CMAs are still ahead
(3 per cent) when compared to the same period last year. Still in August,
starts in agglomerations of 50,000 to 99,999 inhabitants were also down
(16 per cent). This result is attributable to decreases in the agglomerations
of Granby Saint-Hyacinthe and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. The year-to-date total
of 1,541 housing starts in these agglomerations represents a 30 per cent drop
when compared to the first eight months of 2007 (see table).
    Starts of single detached homes were down by 10 per cent compared to
August 2007. However, the survey reports that 5 out of the six CMAs recorded
notable gains. According to the August survey, the Montréal (-20 per cent) was
the only region to record a decline. The significance of this result would be
sufficient to carry the urban total for August under that recorded at the same
time a year ago. After eight months, the total is down by 7 per cent compared
to the same period in 2007.
    Starts of multi-family dwellings (semi-detached and row housing as well
as apartments) also decreased (-12 per cent) from the same month a year ago.
While the number of starts was stable in the Trois-Rivières region, the August
total was down in the other CMAs, with the exception of the Gatineau region,
where housing starts were up by 7 per cent from the same month a year ago (see
table). "We continue to attribute the decline in multi-family starts to a
notable drop in starts aimed at the rental market, notably senior's
residences. However, new construction of condominiums continues to grow,
albeit slightly," added Kevin Hughes.

    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.ca or call 1-800-668-2642.

    
       Preliminary Results - Monthly Starts Survey - Province of Quebec
                        (centres with 10,000+ inhab.)

                                             August

                           Singles          Multiples             Total
                   2007   2008     %   2007   2008    %    2007    2008    %
                  ------------------- ------------------- -------------------

    Centres with
     100,000+
     inhab.

    GATINEAU         72    119    65    227    244    7     299     363   21
    MONTREAL        562    447   -20  1,316  1,123  -15   1,878   1,570  -16
    QUEBEC          154    168     9    185    157  -15     339     325   -4
    SAGUENAY         25     52  (xxx)   110     58  -47     135     110  -19
    SHERBROOKE       53     64    21     26     10  -62      79      74   -6
    TROIS-RIVIERES   29     51    76     66     66    0      95     117   23

    Subtotal
     (100,000+)(*)  895    901     1  1,930  1,658  -14   2,825   2,559   -9

    Centres with
     50,000 to
     99,999 inhab.

    DRUMMONDVILLE    24     23    -4      0     6 (xxx)     24      29   21
    GRANBY           38     32   -16     24    17  -29      62      49  -21
    SAINT-
     HYACINTHE(*)     4     10  (xxx)    19     9  -53      23      19  -17
    SAINT-JEAN-
     SUR-RICHELIEU   29     20   -31      6     2  -67      35      22  -37
    SHAWINIGAN       12     10   -17      2     4  100      14      14    0

    Subtotal
     (50,000 to
     99,999)(*)     107     95   -11     51    38  -25     158     133  -16

    Quebec
     (estimate
     10,000+)     1,169  1,057   -10  2,052 1,812  -12   3,221   2,869  -11


                                      January to August

                           Singles          Multiples             Total
                   2007   2008     %   2007   2008    %    2007    2008    %
                  ------------------- ------------------- -------------------

    Centres with
     100,000+ inhab.

    GATINEAU        671    663    -1  1,092  1,120    3   1,763   1,783    1
    MONTREAL      5,409  4,729   -13  9,172 10,197   11  14,581  14,926    2
    QUEBEC        1,566  1,394   -11  1,892  2,307   22   3,458   3,701    7
    SAGUENAY        234    288    23    249    141  -43     483     429  -11
    SHERBROOKE      415    522    26    477    409  -14     892     931    4
    TROIS-RIVIERES  267    269     1    432    460    6     699     729    4

    Subtotal
     (100,000+)
     (*)          8,562  7,865    -8 13,314 14,634   10  21,876  22,499    3

    Centres with
     50,000 to
     99,999 inhab.

    DRUMMONDVILLE   225    212    -6    496    196  -60     721     408  -43
    GRANBY          231    208   -10    172    256   49     403     464   15
    SAINT-HYACINTHE  55     85    55    136    103  -24     191     188   -2
    SAINT-JEAN-SUR-
     RICHELIEU      355    189   -47    426    183  -57     781     372  -52
    SHAWINIGAN       82     79    -4     14     30 (xxx)     96     109   14

    Subtotal
     (50,000 to
     99,999)        948    773   -18  1,244    768  -38   2,192   1,541  -30

    Quebec
     (estimate
     10,000+)    10,739  9,972    -7 15,350 16,441    7  26,089  26,413    1


    (xxx) Absolute value greater than 100%

    (*) Data adjusted to reflect geographical definitions of the 2006 census.
    Les-Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Mont-Laurier, Prévost, Rawdon, Sainte-Adèle,
    and Sainte-Sophie now belong to the 10 000 to 49 999 population category.
    




For further information:

For further information: Province: Kevin Hughes, Senior Economist CMHC,
(514) 283-4488; Montréal: Astrid Joseph, Market Analyst, (514) 496-8564;
Québec: Frédéric Brie, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8102; Gatineau (Outaouais,
Abitibi): Patrice Tardif, Market Analyst, (514) 283-2097; Sherbrooke (Estrie):
Francis Cortellino, Market Analyst, (514) 283-8391; Trois-Rivières (Mauricie):
Marie-Elaine Denis, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8100; Saguenay: Frédéric Brie,
Market Analyst, (418) 649 8102


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