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According to the results of the latest monthly survey conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), residential construction increased this past month in Quebec’s centres with 10,000 or more inhabitants. In all, 3,424 dwellings were started in March 2010, compared to 2,561 a year earlier. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts for this same month (47,100) was also up from the pace recorded in February (41,500). “In addition to the fact that the March volume is being compared to a particularly low level registered at the same time last year, several factors account for the strong results recorded on the new home market in the last few months, including the recently tight resale market conditions, earlier-than-planned home purchases and the concurrent start of construction on a number of new multiple-unit housing projects. Considering the economic forecasts and demographic potential, it is to be expected that the pace will slow down,” said Kevin Hughes, Senior Economist at CMHC for Quebec.

In Quebec’s census metropolitan areas (CMAs), starts rose by 32 per cent year-over-year in March (to 3,011 units in 2010, from 2,283 in 2009). All CMAs across Quebec, with the exception of the Gatineau area, posted gains during this period. It was a different story in the larger census agglomerations (CAs), as decreases were recorded in three of these five CAs. In the first quarter, a notable increase in starts was observed in agglomerations with 10,000 to 49,999 inhabitants (to 778 units, from 429 in the first quarter of 2009).

An analysis of the data by housing type revealed that single-detached home construction rose by 48 per cent over March 2009, with most of the CMAs having registered increases.

According to the survey results, the greatest gains were recorded in Montréal (+78 per
cent) and Trois-Rivières (+88 per cent). In the multiple-unit housing segment, construction was up by 28 per cent in March over the same month a year earlier (rising to 2,297 units in 2010, from 1,800 in 2009). In the Québec and Trois-Rivières CMAs, multi-family housing starts were up significantly this past March. In the Montréal CMA, however, activity in this segment was down by 12 per cent in March from the same month last year.

Still according to the survey results, freehold and condominium housing starts increased considerably (by 43 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively), while new rental housing units rose by 14 per cent over March 2009.

From January to March 2010, housing starts in Quebec’s centres with 10,000 or more
inhabitants were up by 40 per cent over the same period last year (rising to 8,364 units in 2010, from 5,968 in 2009). This result reflected the increases in activity recorded in both the multiple-family housing segment (+40 per cent) and the single-detached home segment (+39 per cent).

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Québec Landlords Association (1)

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