Housing starts will regain momentum later this year or into 2014, CMHC says

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OTTAWA - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says it expects housing starts to regain momentum in the later part of 2013 and continue in 2014, as employment, economic growth and net migration are forecast to improve.

The agency says total annual housing starts are expected to be lower in 2013 compared with last year, mostly due to moderation in the first half of this year.

In its second-quarter housing market outlook, CMHC predicts that housing starts on an annual basis will range between 173,300 and 192,500 units this year, with a mid-point forecast of 182,900 units.

That's below the 2012 level of 214,827 units in 2012.

In 2014, housing starts are expected to range between 166,500 and 211,300 units, with a mid-point forecast of 188,900 units.

Existing home sales are expected to range between 412,000 and 474,800 units in 2013, with a mid-point forecast of 443,400 units, down from the 2012 level of 453,372 sales.

In 2014, Multiple Listing Service sales of previously owned homes are expected to range between 435,800 and 501,400 units, with an increase in the mid-point forecast to 468,600 units.

The average MLS price is forecast to be between $359,400 and $380,000 in 2013 and between $362,400 and $392,200 in 2014

"So far in 2013, the average monthly growth rates of MLS sales, new listings and prices have all been increasing," said Mathieu Laberge, the agency's deputy chief economist. "This follows a period of average monthly declines that held sway over the second half of 2012.

"This change in the trend of the resale market is expected to eventually lead to a similar change in the trend of the new home market, as housing starts dynamics typically lag the resale market by one to three quarters."

Organizations: Canada Mortgage and Housing, Multiple Listing Service

Geographic location: OTTAWA

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