Canada Housing Starts to Fall 11% in 2013, Agency Says

Canadian housing starts will slow to an annual pace of 190,300 units this year, from 214,827 last year, a drop of 11 percent, the federal housing agency said.

The annual pace of work will range between 178,600 to 202,000 units in 2013, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. said in an e-mailed statement today. Construction will pick up next year, with starts reaching about 194,100 units on an annual basis, CMHC said.

The housing forecast, along with other economic data today. suggests the world’s 11th-largest economy is struggling as consumers pare spending and the nation’s exporters grapple with tepid demand. Inflation rose 0.5 percent in January from a year earlier, the least since October 2009, while retailers recorded a 2.1 percent drop in sales in December, the biggest decline in almost three years, Statistics Canada said today from Ottawa.

Prices of existing homes will rise 1 percent this year to a national average of C$367,500 ($358,571), the agency said. Prices will climb 2.7 percent next year to C$377,300.

Sales of existing homes will drop to 451,100 units this year, before rising to 472,300 units in 2014, CMHC said. The pace of housing starts fell to the slowest since 2009 in January, CMHC reported Feb. 8.

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