News agencies around the world are reporting on Canada’s massive slide in housing starts for the month of April.

Canadian housing starts fell by a much-greater-than-expected 19.9 per cent to 117,400 annualized units in April compared with March, the slowest pace of residential construction activity since 1996, according to figures released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. yesterday.

“Overall, the construction downturn continues to have a coast-to-coast footprint, with Western Canada and Ontario faring worst,” said BMO Capital Markets economist Robert Kavic.

Much of that decrease was recorded in Toronto, where the volatile multiple starts segment, which includes condominium buildings, brought down the overall national average.

The seasonally adjusted and annualized rate of starts fell for the first time in three months in the Toronto market to 16,300 units, representing a 55 per cent drop from the prior month.

The condominium segment fell by 65 per cent, while single-detached housing fell by 3.5 per cent.

Read the full article by Tony Wong “Starts fall to lowest level since 1996” in the Toronto Star (May 9 2009).

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