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Single-family housing starts down, but condo and apartment numbers up

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Local homebuilders continue to hammer out more new apartments and condominiums, but are cutting back on the number of new single-family homes, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation figures show.

The agency said builders began work on 295 new multi-family units in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in May, which was more than 10 times the 28 units started in May of last year.

However, the number of new single-family starts fell by 25.8 per cent to 193 units from 260 a year earlier.

The combination of the two left total starts for the month up 69.4 per cent to 488 units from 288.

"The trend in total housing starts continued to edge upward in May, with an increase in multi-family construction offsetting a decrease in the single-detached sector," said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Winnipeg.

"The slower pace of single-detached construction was in response to higher new home inventories and increased competition from a well-supplied resale market," Himbeault added.

Nationally, housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 198,324 homes in May, up from 196,687 in April.

The results were better than expected as economists had expected the pace to come in at 185,000, according to Thomson Reuters.

CHMC said says the increase came as the pace of urban housing starts climbed to 180,813 from 178,485 in April.

The pace of multiple urban starts slipped to 117,709 from 118,640, while single-detached starts increased to 63,104 from 59,845.

The rate of urban starts for May sped up in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and British Columbia, held steady in Ontario, and slowed in the Prairie region.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,511 units, down from 18,202 in April.

The overall increase helped put up the six-month moving average for the seasonally adjusted annual pace for May to 184,438 compared with 183,872 in April.

— Staff/Canadian Press

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