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Canadian home construction picks up but projects in the pipeline plunge

OTTAWA — The pace of housing starts in Canada for February picked up, boosted by a jump in multiple-unit homes such as condominiums, apartments and townhouses.Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the seasonally adjusted annual pace for housing starts in February increased to 212,594 units, up from 165,071 in January.Economists had expected an annual pace of 180,000, according to Thomson Reuters.CMHC revs up hunt for flows of foreign money into Canada’s torrid housing marketMillionaire boomers decamp Vancouver pocketing housing windfalls as city becomes a ‘commodity’Luxury housing market shows no signs of slowing down in Toronto, Vancouver and MontrealThe increase came as multiple-unit urban starts increased by 46.0 per cent to 138,774 units, while single-detached urban starts increased by 6.1 per cent to 61,457 units.Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12,363.Regionally, the pace of urban starts in February increased in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada while they decreased in the Prairies.Data out today also showed that the value of Canadian building permits issued in January dropped by 9.8 per cent from December, the second sharp retreat in three months, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.The fall exceeded the 2.5 per cent decline forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. Statscan revised December’s gain down to 7.7 per cent from an initial 11.3 per cent and November’s drop to 12.1 percent from 19.9 per cent.A 21.0 per cent decrease in construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, concentrated in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, was the main reason for the weaker performance in January. Overall, the value of residential permits sank by 12.5 per cent from December. Non-residential building permits dropped by 4.8 per cent on lower construction intentions for educational institutions, nursing homes and other government buildings.The overall value of permits issued in the energy-producing province of Alberta, hit hard by slumping crude prices, fell by 5.3 percent in January after gaining 3.9 per cent in December.With files from Canadian Press and Reuters

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