Housing starts slow as condo market cools

[np_storybar title=”Everything you need to know about Canada’s housing ‘bubble’” link=””%5DCanada avoided many of the mistakes that the U.S. made in its housing market. But top economists are increasingly sounding alarms that the sector is the next bubble and it’s about to burst [/np_storybar]OTTAWA — Canada’s housing market continued to show signs of cooling last month, but still no evidence of a correction that would seriously impact the economy.The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Tuesday housing starts for September totalled 19,750. That’s 220,200 units annualized, a slight decrease from the upwardly revised 225,300 units the previous month.The agency said the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased by 3.0% in September to 203,731 units.But the September number was still above the consensus forecast of about 205,000 and well north of what economists consider would be required to meet the growth rate in household formations.“In our view, Canada still has overbuilding concerns,” said TD economist Francis Fong.“Demand for new homes is primarily being supported by accommodative interest rates.”[np-related]In a new global outlook released Monday, the International Monetary Fund singled out housing and household debt, which currently sits at a near-record 152 per cent of income, the key areas of concerns for Canada.“An important domestic vulnerability in Canada relates to the housing market,” the Washington-based financial institution said. “A sharp or sustained decline in house prices could seriously set back the leveraged household sector and domestic demand.”Those concerns have been voiced before, including by Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who has moved four times in as many years to reduce mortgage lending.Scotiabank economist Derek Holt says he expects Canada’s economy will take a little bit of a hit from housing during the third quarter, noting that while still strong, new home construction during the summer was below the level achieved in the spring.Economists expect the slowing to continue across the board in starts, sales and prices in subsequent months.Over-saturation, high prices, high debt levels and recent tightening of mortgage rules are already impacting the resale market, they note, particularly in the previously torrid markets of Toronto and Vancouver.Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic noted that condo re-sales in Toronto were down 27% during the month from September 2011. So building should follow, eventually, he said.“The gradual cooling will likely persist given the sales slowdown currently taking place in a number of major markets,” he predicted.In fact, Toronto saw the most acute retreat in starts during September in the CMHC report, down 38.2%, or about 24,600 units. Ontario as a whole was lower by 18.2 per cent, or 16,000 units.“As expected, the number of multiples starts in Ontario, particularly in Toronto, reverted back to a level more in line with the average pace of activity over the last six months,” said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC.“Following a period of elevated housing starts activity due to strong volumes of multi-family unit pre-sales in 2010 and 2011, the pace of housing starts is expected to moderate.”Elsewhere, seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 17.6% in the Prairies, 20.3% in Atlantic Canada, were up by 1.35% in Quebec and edged down 3.7% in British Columbia.Overall, single starts fell by 1.4% 67,643 units, while multiple urban starts decreased by 3.9% to 136,088 units. read more

Mens Hockey No 4 Ohio State sweeps No 11 Notre Dame in

Ohio State senior forward Freddy Gerard (15) move the puck up the ice in the game against Notre Dame on Feb. 2. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State’s Saturday matchup against Notre Dame was marked by low scores and high tension as the Buckeyes took down the Fighting Irish 2-0.No. 4 Ohio State (17-5-4, 10-3-3 Big Ten) continued its momentum, picking up its fifth consecutive win after beating No. 11 Notre Dame (14-10-3, 7-8-2 Big Ten) in a defense-heavy matchup. Ohio State sophomore goaltender Tommy Nappier’s made 30 saves in the shutout performance, his fourth of the season..“Every night you try to go out there and give up no goals,” Nappier said. “You just go out there and play your game every night.”The second period opened with a bang as sophomore forward Austin Pooley scored the first point of the game within the first minute. Both teams were noticeably more aggressive in the second period, doubling the shots taken during the first period, with Ohio State shooting 13 times and Notre Dame 15 times. With 7:29 left on the clock, Notre Dame junior forward Cal Burke seemed to give the Fighting Irish their first point. The goal went under review, however, and the goal was overturned because a player was in the crease.  The final period was much like the first one, with both teams struggling to get shots on the net. Ohio State only managed five shots on goal and Notre Dame nine. With less than five minutes left in the game, junior forward Carson Meyer managed to increase the Buckeyes’ lead when, immediately after a faceoff, he shot the puck straight past Notre Dame’s defense and into the net.  “It happened pretty fast but the puck just popped right to my stick,” Meyer said. “I just tried to put it on net as fast as I could because I knew the goalie wouldn’t be ready for that”Nappier, the No. 2 goalie in the NCAA in save percentage and Notre Dame junior goalie Cale Morris, the No. 11 goalie in save percentage, both kept their respective teams in the game. Nappier finished with 30 saves in the shutout, and Morris had 22 saves in the lossBoth Ohio State and Notre Dame ended the first period having shot six times each with no success.Head coach Steve Rohlik offered a little insight into how crucial defense was in this game.“We play solid defense,” he said. “We know if we do that we’re going to have a good offense.”Ohio State moves on to play  an away series against Wisconsin on Friday. read more