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Housing starts rise in March

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Winnipeg homebuilders had a banner month in March, nearly doubling the number of housing starts from a year earlier, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said today.

The agency said local builders started construction on 515 new single- and multi-family housing units during the month. That was a 94 per cent increase from March 2012’s total of 266 units.

The biggest increase was on the multi-family side of the market, where the number of starts more than doubled to 323 units from 136. However, the single-family side also fared well, with starts up 48 per cent to 192 units from 130 a year earlier.

"Strength in both the single-detached and multi-family sectors in March helped reverse the downward trend in total housing starts in Winnipeg which had peaked last October," said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s Senior Market Analyst for Winnipeg.

"Demand continues to be supported by positive net migration and job creation," she added.

The strong showing was in stark contrast to what happened on the resale-homes side of the market last month, where sales dropped to their lowest March level — 844 units — in nearly two decades, the Winnipeg Realtors Association said Monday.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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