RTTNews - The seasonally adjusted annual rate of Canadian housing starts inched higher in May, according to an industry report which predicted that housing starts would improve over the course of the year.

Housing starts increased to 128,400 units in May from 117,600 units in April, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said in its monthly report released Monday morning. The results were roughly in line with expectations. Economists anticipated 126,000 starts.

The increase in May is broadly based, encompassing both the singles and multiples segments, said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre.

Housing starts are expected to improve throughout 2009 and over the next several years to gradually become more closely aligned to demographic demand, which is currently estimated at about 175,000 units per year.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased 11.1 per cent to 107,800 units in May. Urban multiple starts increased 11.1 per cent to 60,900 units, while urban single starts also moved up by 11.1 per cent to 46,900 units in May.

May's seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased 22.0 per cent in Ontario, 16.8 per cent in the Prairies, 7.3 per cent in Atlantic Canada, and 3.3 per cent in Quebec. Urban starts declined 5.0 per cent in British Columbia.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 20,600 units in May.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com