Housing starts inch higher to 192,236 in February
The pace of new home construction ticked slightly higher in February as a big increase in condo construction offset a slowdown in single family homes.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said Monday the February figure was slightly higher than January's level of 191,513.
"The trend in housing starts remained stable in February for the seventh consecutive month," CMHC economist Mathieu Laberge said. "Since August 2013, the trend has essentially remained in the 185,000 to 195,000 range, with month-to-month variations generally of two per cent or less. This is in line with CMHC's outlook calling for a stable housing market in 2014."
Condominiums were driving most of the growth, up 13.3 per cent from January's level. That was more than enough to offset a decline of 2.4 per cent in single family homes and a 3.6 per cent slip in rural starts.
"There was no obvious weather effect on shovels going into the ground last month as housing starts climbed in line with consensus expectations and our own," Scotiabank economists said in a note following the release of the data. "This reflects the rise in the volume of building permits the prior month that were exercised in uninterrupted fashion last month."
By region, the pace of construction increased in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, was stable in Ontario, and decreased in the Prairies and British Columbia.
The biggest gain by far was in Quebec, where the number went from 27,400 in January to 46,300 in February.