The results of latest monthly starts survey conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) revealed that residential construction in Quebec declined by 11 per cent in February. In all, 1,923 housing units were started in urban centres with 10,000 or more inhabitants. The decrease in activity affected both major market segments (singles and multiples) and was observed notably in the Montréal and Gatineau areas, where housing starts fell by 12 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively.
"While the decline in starts registered in February extended to most markets, the decrease was more pronounced in the case of single-detached houses. For two years now, this market segment has reacted more significantly to the moderate economic growth and the easing of the resale market. That being said, we expect that the slowdown in multiple housing construction will intensify on account of the current inventory on the market," said Kevin Hughes, Senior Economist at CMHC for the province of Quebec.
In the single-detached home category, foundations were laid for 645 houses across Quebec in February 2007, compared to 769 during the same period the year before, for a decrease of 16 per cent. All census metropolitan areas, with the exception of Saguenay, registered decreases in activity in this market segment. Single-detached housing starts were also down in centres with 50,000 to 99,999 inhabitants.
According to the February survey, urban multi-family (semi-detached, row and apartment) housing starts fell by 8 per cent, in comparison with the same month last year (1,278 units, versus 1,385 in February 2006). Among the notable results in this segment were decreases in Montréal (-10 per cent) and Gatineau (-51 per cent). Conversely, Québec (108 starts, versus 83 in February 2006) and Sherbrooke (48 starts, versus 12 in February 2006) registered gains.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country. For more information, visit www.cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642.
(xxx) Absolute value greater than 100%
(*) Data adjusted to reflect geographical definitions of the 2006
census. Saint-Hyacinthe now belongs to the 50 000 to 99 999
population category. The Sherbrooke CMA now includes the former
agglomeration of Magog. It is however impossible to adjust the 2006
monthly totals for Sherbrooke according to its new definition as
Magog was previously enumerated on a quarterly basis.