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Monday, February 27, 2006

Housing Starts Set Record Pace

A new report from CMHC says that Canadian housing starts topped 200,000 for the 32nd straight month in January, while the resale homes market has been on a seven-year winning streak, helped by low interest rates and a strong economy.

Housing starts totaled 225,481 units last year, down from 2004's 17-year high of 233,431 units, but above early forecasts for a 2005 total of about 215,000. Existing home sales set a record last year as increased immigration, younger people buying homes earlier and women opting to purchase property alone drove buying.

Housing starts rose a bigger than expected annualized 247,900 units in January, the sturdiest start to a year since 1987 while building permits hit a record high in December.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp expects house price increases to moderate to 5.5 percent this year and 3.8 percent next year, from 10 percent last year. Edmonton's price increases are expected to be substantially higher than the rest of the country at 8%.

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