After a bumper February, new-start housing in Halifax took a dive last month. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, there were 89 housing starts last month, a dramatic drop from the 259 in March 2008.

The market had actually risen in February, although that was mostly due to a new 90-unit apartment building in Mainland North.

There were 40 single starts last month compared with 75 in March 2008, while multiple starts decreased significantly to 49 units from 184.??


“A lack of apartment-unit starts last month compared to a relatively strong month of apartment-unit starts in March 2008 resulted in a large percentage decrease in total starts in March 2009,” said Matthew Gilmore, senior market analyst with CMHC’s Atlantic Business Centre.

“On a year-to-date basis, the first quarter continued to see general weakness in demand for new construction and resulted in a nearly 50 per cent decrease in single-detached starts activity.”

In the Atlantic region, 244 new units were started in March 2009, compared to 522 units during the same period in 2008. CMHC said the decreases should be viewed in the context that housing starts have been exceptionally strong over the past seven years, exceeding 200,000 units per year.?

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