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Housing Activity to Stabilize in 2010 and 2011

OTTAWA, May 19, 2010 — Housing starts rebounded in the second half of 2009 and early 2010 and will stabilize over the next two years, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) second quarter .

Following a total of 149,081 units in 2009, housing starts are expected to be in the range of 166,900 to 199,600 units in 2010, with a point forecast of 182,000 units. In 2011, housing starts will be in the range of 148,600 to 208,800 units, with a point forecast of 179,600 units.

“Canadian housing markets have recovered from the low levels posted in early 2009,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC. “Moving forward, housing starts will moderate as activity becomes more in-line with long term demographic fundamentals. New measures for government-backed mortgage insurance introduced by the Government of Canada that took effect on April 19, 2010 will continue to support the long-term stability of Canada's housing market.”

Mr. Dugan also noted that the existing home market will move toward balanced conditions over the next two years as MLS®1 sales ease and inventory levels increase. In late 2009 and early 2010, sales activity included some pent-up demand from early 2009. Once this demand is exhausted, and as mortgage rates gradually rise, the pace of activity in the resale market will ease. As a result, existing home sales will be in the range of 484,000 to 513,300 units in 2010, with a point forecast of 497,300 units, and then move slightly lower in 2011 to be in the range of 443,500 to 504,900 units, with a point forecast of 473,500 units.

With an improved balance between demand and supply, the average MLS® price is expected to stabilize through the end of 2010 and then rise modestly in 2011.

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