BuildingTeam Construction Forecast

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Reed Construction Data editor Denise Mann gathers North American construction-related economic announcements from around the Web and summarizes them just for BuildingTeam Forecast readers. Your feedback and suggestions for future topics to be covered are always welcome.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Canadian and U.S. Housing Starts Veer Off in Different Directions

Sep 12 2007 5:51AM | Permalink | Email this | Comments (0) |
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The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced on September 11 that Canadian housing starts were up again in August, mostly due to a modest recovery in the multiple-unit sector, particularly in the Atlantic region, British Columbia and the Prairies. As for the outlook, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation says that “the pace of housing starts remains consistent with our view that residential construction will decrease gradually between now and the end of 2008.”

In the U.S., the July housing starts figures from the U.S. Census Bureau were gloomy, to say the least, and the sky is expected to get darker when August’s results are released on September 19. Contrary to the Canadian picture, U.S. starts aren’t dropping gradually, but rather continue to fall precipitously. With July’s results marking a 10-year low, many observers don’t expect U.S. housing starts numbers to improve before 2009.

Meanwhile, the U.S. non-residential market is performing well. For information about non-residential construction starts in the U.S. and how they reached near-record highs in the month of July, check out this article by Reed Construction Data economist Jim Haughey.

Meanwhile, here are a few details from the CMHC and Census Bureau announcements.

U.S. housing starts drop in July
Privately-owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,381,000, which is 6.1% below the revised June estimate and 20.9% below the revised July 2006 rate.

Single-family housing starts in July were at a rate of 1,070,000, which is 7.3% below the June figure. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 275,000.

Canadian housing starts move up in August
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of Canadian housing starts was 226,500 units in August 2007, up from 215,600 units in July.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased 6.0% to 192,700 in August, compared to July. Urban singles were up 1.8% to 91,300 units in August, while multiple starts increased 10.1% to 101,400 units.

Actual starts, which combine rural and urban areas, were down about 4.5% in the first eight months of 2007 when compared to the same period in 2006.

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