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Housing starts down in January: CMHC

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The new year got off to a slow start for local homebuilders, with the number of January housing starts down 45.7 per cent from a year earlier, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said today.

The agency said only 189 single and multi-family starts were recorded last month in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, which includes Winnipeg and 10 neighbouring municipalities. There were 348 in the first month of 2012.

The biggest decline was on the often-volatile multi-family side of the market, where only 82 new units were started versus 212 a year earlier, for a drop of 61.3 per cent.

That compared to a 21.3 per cent decline in single-family starts — 107 versus 136.

"Despite the year-over-year reduction, total housing starts on a seasonally adjusted basis showed improvement over the December 2012 figure," said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s Senior Market Analyst for Winnipeg said she added.

CMHC said the standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of housing starts was 2,740 units in January, compared to 2,254 in December.

Canada also saw a sharp drop in housing starts last month, with 9,904 actual starts versus 13,038 in January 2012. The seasonally adjusted rate was 160,577 starts versus 197,118 in December.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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