(Adds analysts' quotes, housing market details)
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, Sept 8 Canadian housing starts fell
more than expected in August compared with July as both multiple
and single-detached starts declined, data from the national
housing agency showed on Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts
fell to 182,703 units in August from a revised 194,663 in July.
Economists had expected starts to fall to a 190,000-unit pace in
The decline in starts to a still healthy level left them
more in line with what the trend in building permits data has
suggested, Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC Capital
Markets, said in a research note.
Starts of multiple urban buildings such as condominiums fell
7.3 percent to 111,378 units, while single-detached urban starts
dropped 3.7 percent to 56,501 units.
"Housing starts declined in August, as construction of
multi-unit dwellings slowed in most regions, led by lower
activity in Alberta and Manitoba," said Bob Dugan, chief
economist at CMHC, in a news release.
The geographic split revealed that starts decreased in the
Prairies, British Columbia, Ontario, and in Atlantic Canada, but
increased in Quebec.
"Housing market activity levels remain elevated and this
decline in starts is the market's response to increasing levels
of supply," Dugan added.
Hot housing markets in Canada's two largest cities, Toronto
and Vancouver, have sparked some fears of a housing bubble, even
as other markets cool amid a slump in commodity prices that has
weighed on the country's economic growth.
However, recent data has shown a slowdown in home sales in
Vancouver. A new tax on foreign buyers was recently introduced
in the city.
"An easing in housing starts in 2017/18 vs the annual
average of 2016 will mean Canada needs an alternative source of
growth," said Shenfeld.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alan Crosby)