Wires

UPDATE 1-Canada housing starts slow in September

(Adds detail, CMHC comment)

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Canadian housing starts slowed inSeptember as multiple urban starts slumped, particularly inOntario, in line with expectations that housing constructionwill ease as the year progresses, Canada Mortgage and HousingCorp said on Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing startswas 220,215 units in September, compared with 225,328 units inAugust. The August figure was revised up from 224,900 unitsreported previously.

The number of starts in September was above the forecasts ofanalysts in a Reuters poll, who had expected 207,500 starts.

The CMHC said September's slowdown in starts was mostly dueto a decrease in the urban multiples market -- typically condosand apartment buildings.

"As expected, the number of multiples starts in Ontario,particularly in Toronto, reverted back to a level more in linewith 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 dueto strong volumes of multi-family unit pre-sales in 2010 and2011, the pace of housing starts is expected to moderate," headded.

A long run-up in Canadian house prices and a condominiumbuilding boom in Toronto and Vancouver have sparked some concernof a housing bubble, and the International Monetary Fund onMonday singled out Canada's housing boom as a factor to watch.

But the September housing starts data is just the latestsignal that the market has begun to cool.

The rate of urban starts fell by 3 percent to 203,731 unitsin September, with singles starts falling 1.4 percent to 67,643and multiple starts falling 3.9 percent to 136,088 units,according to the CMHC report.

Urban starts rose in the Atlantic region, Quebec and thePrairies, but fell in Ontario and British Columbia, the twoprovinces which have had the hottest housing markets in the pastseveral years.

(Reporting By Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

((Andrea.Hopkins@thomsonreuters.com)(416 941 8159))

Keywords: CANADA ECONOMY/HOUSING