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Canada housing starts fall more than expected in July; home prices up in June

Monthly housing construction starts in Canada dropped more than expected in July from the previous month amid a big decline in multiple-unit projects, according to latest data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Housing starts in all areas fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 206,314 units in July below Econoday's consensus forecast of 220,000 units from 246,200 units in June.

Multiple-unit housing starts in all areas tumbled to 139,931 units in July from 177,463 units in June, and single-detached housing starts decreased to 66,382 units from 68,734 units.

The seasonally adjusted six-month moving trend for Canadian housing starts was 219,988 units in July, down from 221,738 units in June.

"Despite decreasing in July, the trend remains well-above historical averages, reflecting elevated levels of multi-unit starts in most major markets that has more-than-offset declining single starts," said CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan.

Separately, Statistics Canada reported that new house prices ticked up 0.1% on a monthly basis in June, the first increase since November 2017.

The increase was attributed mainly to rising construction costs across the country, particularly the price of softwood lumber.

Montréal and Ottawa posted the biggest price increases among 11 surveyed census metropolitan areas, while Oshawa registered the largest decline. Prices were unchanged in Toronto.

Year over year, new house prices were up 0.8% in June.