By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian housing starts dipped in May as construction intentions fell in Toronto, another sign that one of the country’s hottest real estate markets might be cooling down.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts declined to 194,663 in May from April’s upwardly revised 213,498, the second consecutive monthly fall since a record high set in March, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said on Thursday.
May’s figure was a bigger decline than economists’ expectations for a decrease to 205,000.
Authorities are trying to clamp down on the Toronto and Vancouver markets amid fears of a possible bubble.
Single detached starts in Toronto dropped by 43 percent, the first decline since September 2016.
“This coincides with a noticeable increase in new home listings in the resale market, providing added choice to home buyers, causing less demand to spill over into the new home market,” the CMHC said in a statement.
Single detached starts in Vancouver slipped by 13 percent.
Toronto is the engine of the economy in Ontario, where the provincial government imposed a 15 percent foreign buyers tax in April. British Columbia made the same move last August in an effort to cool Vancouver’s housing market.