Housing starts hit 2009 high

Housing starts hit their highest level this year in November, more proof that Canada's real-estate market has clawed out of recession.

Starts rose slightly to 158,500 units, on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from 157,400 in October as single-home construction outweighed a drop in multiple home activity, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Tuesday.

“The improvement in housing starts continued in November,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist.

The results were slightly less than the 165,000 starts economists had expected. Still, they're running at a much stronger level than in April, when they sunk to the 118,500 mark.

Record low interest rates are fuelling a rebound in Canada's real-estate market, spurring rising prices and a flurry of buying activity. The Bank of Canada will provide its current view of lending rates and the economy today at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

More builders have plans in the works, a report showed yesterday. Building permits jumped 18 per cent in October to the highest value in 13 months, Statistics Canada said yesterday.

Multiple starts eased in November, CMHC said, to 71,300 units from 72,500 units a month earlier. Single starts rose 3.4 per cent to 69,800 units.

The annual rate of urban starts has risen the most in Quebec, at 10 per cent, followed by Atlantic Canada.

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