Despite Banner Building Year, Canadian Home Starts Drop in December

Ottawa–A decrease in Canadian new home starts last month indicated the country’s hot housing market may be tapering off–yet overall starts for 2007 were the highest since 2004, according to the Ottawa-based Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.New home starts decreased in December to 187,500, compared with a revised 233,300 units in November, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.Metropolitan single-family homes construction starts dropped 13 percent to 85,600 units last month. Urban apartment and condominium starts fell 34 percent to 66,000 units. In 2007, new home starts climbed to 229,699 units–1 percent more than in 2006. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. predicted starts will slow to 214,300 in 2008.Canada’s housing industry has flourished in the past year, buoyed by a commodities rise that caused large corporate profits and job growth. Average hourly wages in Canada increased a record 4.2 percent in November; the unemployment rate is at its lowest point in close to 30 years.