Quebec residential construction down 11 per cent in February



    MONTREAL, March 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The results of latest monthly starts
survey conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) revealed
that residential construction in Quebec declined by 11 per cent in February.
In all, 1,923 housing units were started in urban centres with 10,000 or more
inhabitants. The decrease in activity affected both major market segments
(singles and multiples) and was observed notably in the Montréal and Gatineau
areas, where housing starts fell by 12 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively.
    "While the decline in starts registered in February extended to most
markets, the decrease was more pronounced in the case of single-detached
houses. For two years now, this market segment has reacted more significantly
to the moderate economic growth and the easing of the resale market. That
being said, we expect that the slowdown in multiple housing construction will
intensify on account of the current inventory on the market," said Kevin
Hughes, Senior Economist at CMHC for the province of Quebec.
    In the single-detached home category, foundations were laid for 645
houses across Quebec in February 2007, compared to 769 during the same period
the year before, for a decrease of 16 per cent. All census metropolitan areas,
with the exception of Saguenay, registered decreases in activity in this
market segment. Single-detached housing starts were also down in centres with
50,000 to 99,999 inhabitants (see table 1).
    According to the February survey, urban multi-family (semi-detached, row
and apartment) housing starts fell by 8 per cent, in comparison with the same
month last year (1,278 units, versus 1,385 in February 2006). Among the
notable results in this segment were decreases in Montréal (-10 per cent) and
Gatineau (-51 per cent). Conversely, Québec (108 starts, versus 83 in February
2006) and Sherbrooke (48 starts, versus 12 in February 2006) registered gains
(see table).

    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.)

                                  February

                             Singles            Multiple               Total
                   2006   2007     %   2006   2007     %   2006   2007     %
                  ------------------- ------------------- -------------------
    Centres with
     100,000+
     inhab.

    GATINEAU         40     36   -10    118     58   -51    158     94   -41
    MONTREAL        461    388   -16    968    874   -10  1,429  1,262   -12
    QUEBEC          117     92   -21     83    108    30    200    200     0
    SAGUENAY          3      5    67      6      4   -33      9      9     0
    SHERBROOKE(*)    16     10   -38     12     48  (xxx)    28     58  (xxx)
      SHERBROOKE
       (2001
       geography)    16      7   -56     12     38  (xxx)    28     45    61
      MAGOG         N/A      3   N/A    N/A     10   N/A    N/A     13   N/A
    TROIS-RIVIERES   14     12   -14     56     40   -29     70     52   -26

    Subtotal
     (100,000+)     651    543   -17  1,243  1,132    -9  1,894  1,675   -12
    Subtotal
     (excluding
      Magog)        651    540   -17  1,243  1,122   -10  1,894  1,662   -12

    Centres with
     50,000 to
     99,999 inhab.

    DRUMMONDVILLE    17     10   -41      6      9    50     23     19   -17
    GRANBY            9      9     0      0      0     0      9      9     0
    SAINT-
     HYACINTHE(*)     3      2   -33     34     10   -71     37     12   -68
    SAINT-JEAN-
     SUR-RICHELIEU   31     26   -16     10     45  (xxx)    41     71    73
    SHAWINIGAN        2      3    50      0      0     0      2      3    50

    Subtotal
     (50,000 to
      99,999)        62     50   -19     50     64    28    112    114     2

    Quebec
     (estimate
      10,000+)      769    645   -16  1,385  1,278    -8  2,154  1,923   -11


                             January to February

                             Singles            Multiple               Total
                   2006   2007     %   2006   2007     %   2006   2007     %
                  ------------------- ------------------- -------------------
    Centres with
     100,000+
     inhab.

    GATINEAU        162    106   -35    171    193    13    333    299   -10
    MONTREAL        799    633   -21  1,640  1,750     7  2,439  2,383    -2
    QUEBEC          228    205   -10    454    183   -60    682    388   -43
    SAGUENAY          5      9    80      6      4   -33     11     13    18
    SHERBROOKE(*)    42     54    29     53    124  (xxx)    95    178    87
      SHERBROOKE
       (2001
        geography)   42     46    10     53    112  (xxx)    95    158    66
      MAGOG         N/A      8   N/A    N/A     12   N/A    N/A     20   N/A
    TROIS-RIVIERES   41     27   -34    132     74   -44    173    101   -42

    Subtotal
     (100,000+)   1,277  1,034   -19  2,456  2,328    -5  3,733  3,362   -10
    Subtotal
     (excluding
      Magog)      1,277  1,026   -20  2,456  2,316    -6  3,733  3,342   -10

    Centres with
     50,000 to
     99,999 inhab.

    DRUMMONDVILLE    38     30   -21     81    398  (xxx)   119    428  (xxx)
    GRANBY           40     36   -10     66     43   -35    106     79   -25
    SAINT-
     HYACINTHE       10      3   -70     40     32   -20     50     35   -30
    SAINT-JEAN-
     SUR-RICHELIEU   54     45   -17     16     51  (xxx)    70     96    37
    SHAWINIGAN        6      3   -50      4      0  -100     10      3   -70

    Subtotal
     (50,000 to
      99,999)       148    117   -21    207    524  (xxx)   355    641    81

    Quebec
     (estimate
      10,000+)    1,541  1,262   -18  2,850  3,053     7  4,391  4,315    -2


    (xxx) Absolute value greater than 100%
    (*)   Data adjusted to reflect geographical definitions of the 2006
          census. Saint-Hyacinthe now belongs to the 50 000 to 99 999
          population category. The Sherbrooke CMA now includes the former
          agglomeration of Magog. It is however impossible to adjust the 2006
          monthly totals for Sherbrooke according to its new definition as
          Magog was previously enumerated on a quarterly basis.
    




For further information:

For further information: Province: Kevin Hughes, Senior Economist, (514)
283-4488; Montréal: Sandra Girard, Senior Market Analyst, (514) 283-5075;
Québec: Jean-François Dion, Senior Market Analyst, (418) 649-8101; Gatineau
(Outaouais, Abitibi): Patricia Dépot, Market Analyst, (514) 283-7312;
Sherbrooke (Estrie): Hélène Dauphinais, Market Analyst, (819) 564-5622;
Trois-Rivières (Mauricie): Marie-Elaine Denis, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8100;
Saguenay: Frédéric Brie, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8102


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