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Home starts down 33%, but local market believed more stable than most - Metro US

Home starts down 33%, but local market believed more stable than most

Ottawans are taking their time in buying new houses, which has led to a slowdown in home starts in the National Capital Region.

Home starts are down 33 per cent from this time last year, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation senior marketing analyst Sandra Perez Torres said yesterday.

All across Ontario, home starts declined in February, the CMHC said.

“New construction has dropped below trend in February,” said CMHC’s Ontario regional economist Ted Tsiakopoulos.

But while home starts are down across the province, Ottawa’s market is doing better than most, Perez Torres said. Because the federal government is a big employer here, the economy here is more stable, she said.

“The employment conditions are still very strong, but people are taking time to buy,” she said.

“Real estate agents are saying that open houses are packed, but people are looking to see the best option. And that’s typical — people are taking the time to buy because there’s no rush. That’s what happens in a balanced housing market.”

In Ottawa, there were 137 housing starts last month, down from 317 a year earlier. The CMHC expects 5,760 housing starts in Ottawa by the end of 2009, marking an 18 per cent decrease from 7,000 housing starts in 2008.

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