UPDATE 1-Canada housing starts fall in May from April

* May starts 189,100 vs forecast of 200,000

* April revised slightly higher to 201,800
(Adds details, comment from analysts)

By Jeffrey Hodgson

TORONTO, June 8 (BestGrowthStock) – Canadian housing starts fell by
a larger-than-expected 6.3 percent in May from April,
suggesting the housing market rally that that helped pull the
country out of recession is starting to stumble.

Housing starts fell in May to a seasonally adjusted
annualized rate of 189,100 units from a revised 201,800 in
April, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC) said on
Tuesday.

The number of starts was below the consensus expectations
of analysts, who had called for 200,000 starts in May. April’s
housing starts were originally reported at 201,700 units.

“Today’s data suggest that the rebound in homebuilding
activity from last year’s recession is quickly running out of
steam,” Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist at TD Economics,
said in a note to clients.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts
decreased by 9.5 percent to 165,200 units in May, with both
multidwelling starts, which include high-rise condos, and
single-family homes declining.

Urban housing starts declined in most parts of the country,
falling 21.8 percent in the Prairie region, 13 percent in
Quebec, 12.9 percent in British Columbia, and 2.7 percent in
Ontario. Urban starts increased 23.3 percent in Atlantic
Canada.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual
rate of 23,900 units in May.

After taking a brief hit from the global financial crisis,
Canada’s housing sector rebounded sharply last year when the
central bank cut interest rates to a record low, sending
mortgage rates tumbling.

But many market players had forecast that home sales would
slow in the latter part of 2010 due to higher interest rates,
new mortgage rules and the introduction of harmonized sales tax
regimes in Ontario and British Columbia. [ID:nN18184642]

On June 1, Canada became the first of the Group of Seven
major industrialized countries to begin hiking interest rates
following the global financial crisis, with the central bank
raising its key rate by a quarter-point to 0.50 percent.
[ID:nN01264788]

“Building is expected to slow markedly over the summer, as
builders respond to the broader cooling in Canada’s previously
white-hot housing market,” Doug Porter, an economist at BMO
Capital Markets, said in a research note.

CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan said in a statement that
May’s decrease was consistent with the agency’s forecast that
housing starts for 2010 will reach 182,000 units.

Stock Market Money
(Editing by Peter Galloway)

UPDATE 1-Canada housing starts fall in May from April