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Winnipeg housing starts surge in December

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Winnipeg-area homebuilders ended 2013 with a bang, pounding out a 74 per cent increase in housing starts, new Canada mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) figures show.

The federal housing agency said today that 294 new housing starts were recorded last month in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which includes Winnipeg and 10 surrounding municipalities. That compared with 169 in December 2012.

The bulk of the gain was on the multi-family side of the market, where starts soared by 522 per cent to 112 units from just 18 a year earlier. Single-family starts, by comparison, were up 18.3 per cent to 182 units from 151.

The strong finish pushed total starts for the year above the 4,700-unit threshold to 4,705. That was a 15.8 per cent improvement from 2012’s total of 4,065.

As was the case in December, the biggest gain was in multi-family starts, which jumped by 28.5 per cent to 2,487 units from 1,936 in 2012. Single-family starts rose by a more modest 4.2 per cent to 2,218 units from 2,129.

"New home production has been supported by stable employment and positive net migration," Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Winnipeg, said in a written statement.

Statistics Canada also released its new housing price index report for November. It showed the cost of a new home in Winnipeg remained unchanged from October to November of 2013, but was still up 3.7 per cent from November 2012.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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