Canadian housing market to remain strong, though builders' profits to weaken again in 2008

    OTTAWA, Feb. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - After a 22 per cent drop in profits last
year, Canada's residential construction industry can expect profitability to
decline further in 2008, according to the Conference Board's Canadian
Industrial Outlook: Canada's Residential Construction Industry - Winter 2008.
    "With a growing inventory of new homes, declining housing starts and
weaker price growth, builders' profits are expected to shrink over the next
two years," said Valérie Poulin, Economist.
    Profits are expected to fall slightly from 2007 levels to $3.3 billion in
2008. Profitability is expected to decrease by another four per cent in 2009,
before improving gradually beginning in 2010.
    However, profit margins will remain higher than historical norms, staying
above their 17-year average over the next four years.
    Pent-up housing demand appears to be satisfied, which, along with slower
economic growth, is leading to a lengthy slowdown in the housing market.
Waning affordability of houses, following years of price increases, is also
detracting from the industry's performance. When declining affordability is
coupled with economic uncertainty, many potential purchasers are expected to
postpone their decision to buy homes.

For further information:

For further information: Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, (613) 526-3090
ext.  221,

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