UPDATE 1-Canada housing starts slow in September

(Adds detail, CMHC comment)

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Canadian housing starts slowed in September as multiple urban starts slumped, particularly in Ontario, in line with expectations that housing construction will ease as the year progresses, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said on Tuesday.

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

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

The CMHC said September's slowdown in starts was mostly due to a decrease in the urban multiples market -- typically condos and apartment buildings.

"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," he added.

A long run-up in Canadian house prices and a condominium building boom in Toronto and Vancouver have sparked some concern of a housing bubble, and the International Monetary Fund on Monday singled out Canada's housing boom as a factor to watch.

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

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

Urban starts rose in the Atlantic region, Quebec and the Prairies, but fell in Ontario and British Columbia, the two provinces which have had the hottest housing markets in the past several years.

(Reporting By Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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

Keywords: CANADA ECONOMY/HOUSING